NCAA Antitrust Trial Continues with Testimony from Pac-12 Commissioner
As part of the continuing NCAA antitrust action, Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott took the stand on Tuesday, issuing a grave warning about the future of amateur sports if the judgment were to be awarded in the plaintiffs’ favor.
Scott testified that any proposal to abandon the pay limit rules currently in place in the NCAA would “create significant consumer confusion,” making it “murkier” for broadcasters and fans to understand the nature of collegiate sports. He also stated that lifting such pay limits would be a severe blow to academic institutions. Scott’s statements support the previous testimony of Rebecca Blank, Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who explained that the school could remove their athletics program if students were paid, stating, “We’re not interested in professional sports. We’re interested in student athletes.”
Scott’s own salary was called in to question before the court, with Scott confirming that he made $4.5 million in 2016. The commissioner noted that the sum was approved by a review committee and is in line with the salaries of other media executives. Turning to the question of Pac-12 schools’ compensation, Scott said that the revenue ranges from $70 million to $140 million annually, with the conference evenly distributing roughly $31 million back to each school. However, in Scott’s view, compensating student athletes is off the table.
He testified that the students play college sports “for the love of the sport, for the team, for the school,” arguing further that of the “several dozen” student athletes Scott has personally interviewed, the “vast majority” told him they support the ban on student compensation.