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Pac-12 HQ cuts staff — but did they have to?

Amazing details come to light amid the conference cutting half its staff

PAC12 Media Days Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images

The Pac-12 has cut 50% of its staff — affecting both the conference and networks divisions — as they’re faced with the global pandemic COVID-19 and the subsequent postponement of fall sports.

The harder hit of the two, the Pac-12 Network, had 66 employees placed on furlough and another 10 employees laid off. They had reportedly dozens of open positions also cancelled.

The conference itself lost 13 employees on furlough and another five employees were laid off.

In total, the Pac-12 headquarters in San Francisco went from 190 employees to just 96.

This is all according to a report from The Mercury News’ Jon Wilner.

All the furloughs are scheduled to begin early next month and end in three months, all of course if competition resumes in early 2021.

So, while all of this came to light, other financial concerns were drug up by both Wilner and ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura.

While Wilner broke down the financial ramifications based upon last year’s numbers versus this year’s projections with the coronavirus wreaking havoc on our season,

In the latest reporting period (fiscal year 2019), the Pac-12 Networks generated $123.4 million in revenue against $90.3 million in expenses, resulting in distributions of about $2.75 million per campus.

Without football, the budget outlook is bleak — not only for the networks but the conference as a whole.

Of the $530 million in revenue generated by the Pac-12 in FY19, more than $400 million flowed from regular-season football broadcasts and the major postseason games (the Rose Bowl and College Football Playoff).

Bonagura pulled out the big guns and brought to light an eye-opening tax document.

On social media, Bonagura, placing majority of the blame on the Pac-12 headquarters’ location in San Francisco, showcased the 2018 990 tax returns based upon occupancy expenses for the Power-5 conferences.

The Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten Conference, Southeastern Conference and Big 12 Conference together amassed occupancy expenses of a total $1,579,259 dollars.

The Pac-12’s occupancy expenses were $8,091,386.

Their model of residing in the tech capital of the United States, though good in theory, was never good upon execution. In fact, the major tech streaming cable service YouTubeTV is all of 13 miles from the Pac-12 headquarters, yet the Pac-12 Network is nowhere to be found on YouTubeTV, while the Big Ten Network certainly is.

Bonagura also pulled the salaries of the top employees of the Pac-12. And safe to say they’re not pretty.

Led by commissioner Larry Scott’s $5,199,753 annual salary, the lowest paid of those officials on this list make over $180,000 annually.

So, as bad as it will get for the Pac-12 amid the cancelation (or postponement) of the fall sports seasons, did it have to be as bleak as it seems now?

Absolutely not.

More on this from Wilner: Pac-12 implements furloughs, layoffs that cut staff in half

And the full thread of information from Bonagura can be found here.