Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott
Throughout his career as a student-athlete, professional athlete, and sports executive, Larry Scott has been a game changer: a bold, innovative leader with a vision for transformative change — from expansion and revitalization of the Pac-12 to equal prize money at Wimbledon. Commissioner Scott’s firm belief that sport has the power to be a force for positive change has been the hallmark of his career.
Expansion and Innovation at the Pac-12
In his eight years as Pac-12 Commissioner, with the support of the Pac-12 universities’ presidents and chancellors, Scott has orchestrated a rebranding of the conference, with messages of innovation, excellence, and the advantages of a West Coast location at its core. Scott also led the conference through an expansion for the first time since 1978 by successfully adding Colorado and Utah.
During his tenure, the Pac-12 added a Football Championship Game, transformed its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments into must-attend events, and secured an agreement for equal revenue sharing for the first time ever.
Scott has also led a transformation of the conference’s media posture by delivering much-needed revenue, dramatically increasing exposure for women’s and Olympic sports, establishing ever-evolving digital and mobile platforms for Pac-12 content, and creating training and employment opportunities for thousands of Pac-12 students interested in launching media careers. To achieve these goals, he delivered a landmark media rights agreement with ESPN and FOX and created Pac-12 Networks, the first-ever integrated media company owned by a collegiate conference.
Commissioner Scott and the presidents and chancellors of the Pac-12 have led the way in ensuring that Pac-12 universities’ academic missions and the growth and development of student-athletes remain the primary focus of intercollegiate athletics. Through a series of reforms, Pac-12 schools have committed to enhanced student-athlete benefits, including increasing scholarship limits to cover the full cost of attending college and adding student-athletes to the conference’s formal governance structure. For the 7,000 student-athletes in the Pac-12, participation in intercollegiate athletics provides an avenue to earn a degree from one of the best universities in the world. Scott is staunchly committed to retaining college sports a vital component of American higher education by continually adapting to the changing needs of today’s student-athletes.
Under Scott’s leadership, the Pac-12 also created a Student-Athlete Health and Well Being Initiative: a collective effort between the conference and its member universities to identify ways to reduce injuries, share current best practices, and conduct research to uncover new ways to keep student-athletes as safe as possible. Over the last three years, the Pac-12’s Student-Athlete Health and Well Being Grant Program has funded millions of dollars in research on Pac-12 campuses focused on everything from head trauma to overuse injuries to thermal management.
Scott’s vision for the conference also reaches beyond geographic borders. In 2011, the Pac-12 launched Pac-12 Global, an initiative that aims to expand the conference’s and its members’ footprint around the world. Since its advent, Pac-12 Global has been the catalyst for several international athletic events and student-athlete cultural exchange programs, all while spreading Pac-12 universities’ brands to new audiences. In 2015, the Pac-12 hosted the first-ever regular season basketball game, collegiate or professional, to be played in China and has since made the Pac-12 China Game an annual opener to the college basketball season. The conference has also made inroads in Australia, where a team of Pac-12 men’s basketball all-stars traveled and competed during the summer of 2016.
All the while, the athletic excellence that has defined the Pac-12 for over a century has only increased during Scott’s tenure. In May of 2017, the Pac-12 won its 500th NCAA team championship, becoming the first conference to hit the milestone and putting the Pac-12 nearly 200 NCAA Championships ahead of any other conference. Pac-12 athletes have also made their mark on the world in recent years, winning a total of 55 medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, a number that would have made the conference fifth in the medal count had it been a country.
Proven Leadership in Athletics
Scott succeeded Tom Hansen as the sixth Commissioner of what was then the Pac-10 Conference on July 1, 2009. Before that, he served for six years as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Sony Ericsson Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour, where he helped generate unprecedented growth and popularity for women’s professional tennis on a global scale.
At the WTA Tour, Scott worked with Billie Jean King and others to achieve the long-sought goal of equal prize money for women in tennis’ grand slam events. He also became the architect of the largest-ever sponsorship in both women’s sports and professional tennis, a six-year $88-million title sponsorship agreement with Sony Ericsson. His many other WTA achievements include the largest television deal in women’s tennis history, a reform package that led to a 40 percent increase in prize money, and $750 million in facilities investments.
Scott’s career in athletics extends back to his captaincy of the Harvard men’s tennis team, where he was named an All-American, earned a B.A. in History, and developed a first-hand understanding of the importance of maintaining balance between academics and athletics.
He went on to play tennis professionally on the ATP circuit, winning one title, and then going on to work for more than a decade with the ATP, where his roles included Chief Operating Officer, President of ATP Properties, and Executive Vice President of the International Group. In those roles, he was credited with significantly increasing the global popularity of men’s tennis, establishing the Tennis Masters Cup as one of the sport’s most successful events, negotiating a renewal of the ATP’s 13-year partnership with Mercedes-Benz that remains one of the preeminent sponsorship agreements in tennis history, and launching tournaments in places like China and the Persian Gulf.
Recognition and Service
Scott has often earned recognition for his visionary leadership. He has been a finalist for the Sports Executive of the Year Award given by Sports Business Journal and was awarded the Vision Award by Cynopsis Sports. Scott was also given the Americanism Award by the Anti-Defamation League in tribute to his mission of fostering positive change through sports.
Scott serves on several boards inside and outside of intercollegiate athletics, including those of the National Football Foundation, the 150th Anniversary of College Football, College Football Playoff LLC Management Committee, the Rose Bowl Management Committee, and the Women’s Sports Foundation.
Larry and his wife, Cybille, live in Danville, Calif., and have three children: Alexander, Sebastien, and Alannah.