/ Modified feb 17, 2024 8:33 a.m.

Pac-12 parts ways with Commissioner George Kliavkoff

He oversaw demise of league with realignment.

UA Football UCLA Arizona wide receiver Montana Lemonious-Craig scores a touchdown against UCLA defensive back Jaylin Davies and defensive lineman Laiatu Latu during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Tucson, Ariz.
AP Photo, Rick Scuteri

The Pac-12 is parting ways with Commissioner George Kliavkoff after the former MGM executive oversaw the demise of the once-powerful league during a wave of conference realignment last year.

The Pac-12 Board of Directors announced the move Friday in a two-sentence news release, saying the conference and Kliavkoff “mutually agreed to part ways, effective February 29, 2024.”

“More details about new leadership of the Pac-12 will be announced next week,” the release said.

Kliavkoff was a surprising and unconventional hiring in the spring of 2021 when he was picked to succeed Larry Scott. Kliavkoff had been the president of sports and entertainment for MGM Resorts International in Las Vegas since 2018.

He was tasked with rebranding and boosting a conference that had taken a reputational hit under Scott's leadership, especially in football. He leaned into being a disruptor and outsider, slowing down the process of College Football Playoff expansion after it was revealed the Southeastern Conference planned to pull Texas and Oklahoma from the Big 12 in 2021.

But in 2022, USC and UCLA announced plans to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten, a move that turned out to be the beginning of the end of the league as a Power Five conference.

Kliavkoff was unable to land the conference a new media rights deal that remaining members believed would keep them competitive with Power Five conference peers and the Pac-12 had eight more schools depart over the course of about a month and a half late last summer.

The Pac-12 went on to have its best football season in years with Washington breaking the conference's six-year College Football Playoff drought and reaching the national championship game.

Washington State and Oregon State are the only remaining long-term members of the Pac-12, and currently the only members of the conference's board of directors.

The Pacific Northwest schools plan to keep the conference up and running with only two schools for at least another year, or maybe two, as they try to rebuild the league.

But they will do so without Kliavkoff.

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