Pac-12 commissioner hot board: Odds on candidates, preferred models and unusual scenarios

And on the 104th day, we caved.

The Hotline resisted the urge to post odds on the next Pac-12 commissioner for more than three months. But today is the day, and it’s the day for two reasons:

1) We don’t have news to report.

TurnkeyZRG, the search firm assisting the conference, has lived up to its reputation for secrecy, while the presidents involved in the process are remaining remarkably tight-lipped.

As a result, there have been precious few leaks.

Which presidents are involved? The CEO Group’s executive committee has led the process from the start: Washington’s Ana Mari Cauce, Washington State’s Kirk Schulz and Oregon’s Michael Schill, who is halfway through his two-year term as chair.

According to sources, two other university leaders have been added, forming a five-person search committee: Colorado chancellor Phil DiStefano and USC president Carol Folt.

The additions smartly bring geographical diversity to the central decision-making body and lend two important perspectives.

DiStefano served as chair of the CEO Group from 2018-20, when the conference explored options for a media rights deal, and is on the NCAA’s Board of Directors.

Folt’s presence makes sense because, well, the Los Angeles schools should have a voice in the process — USC, in particular.

The Big 12 would never hire a commissioner without Texas being heavily involved.

The Big Ten wouldn’t make a move without first checking with Ohio State.

The Trojans don’t occupy exactly the same role within the Pac-12 as the Longhorns and Buckeyes in their respective conferences, but the situations are roughly comparable.

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2) We have gathered enough information in recent weeks to create a reasonable outline of the process.

Above all, there exists a range of opinion on the vision for the commissioner position:

Some presidents have placed supreme emphasis on the revenue-generation component and prefer candidates with expertise in sports business in order to reach the Holy Grail: A financial future secure enough that athletic departments no longer require subsidies from central campus to support the Olympic sports.

(Good luck with that!)

Some presidents favor a commissioner with campus experience and a grasp of the momentous issues facing college sports, from name, image and likeness to the Alston Case to the transfer portal dervish to College Football Playoff expansion.

Oh, and one more note: Utah and Oregon State currently have interim presidents. We fully expect both to cast a vote, but the recent arrivals of Rebecca Johnson (Corvallis) and Michael Good (Salt Lake City) lend additional uncertainty to the  process.

With that, here is the Hotline’s hot board …

Oliver Luck: 3/1

Luck has been an obvious candidate since the evening Larry Scott’s departure became public. (Jan. 20).

He has both campus experience, as the former athletic director at West Virginia, and a sports business background, as the commissioner of the XFL and president of NFL Europe.

An NFL quarterback in the 1980s, Luck is familiar with the Pac-12, having raised two Stanford athletes (Andrew, of course, and Mary Ellen, who played volleyball).

What’s more, Luck spent several years as the NCAA’s executive vice president for regulatory affairs, which could be viewed by the presidents …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports

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