The people in charge of hiring Larry Scott's replacement as Pac-12 commissioner should remember his comments on the NCAA Tournament and hire someone to do the opposite.
There's a time for being magnanimous and a time to grandstand. Larry Scott doesn't get that, apparently.
On Tuesday, the outgoing Pac-12 commissioner validated all the criticism slung his way in a conversation with Ben Bolch of the LA Times.
Bolch asked Scott about the success of the Pac-12 in this year's NCAA Tournament, with five teams making it to the Sweet 16, particularly the perception the selection committee disrespected the conference by under-seeding top teams USC and Oregon.
There has been good reason for Pac-12 fans to celebrate his departure, but Scott couldn't help giving them yet another with his answer
"Rather than slam the selection committee for undervaluing his teams, Scott said he didn’t assign any blame, noting COVID-19 disruptions and truncated nonconference schedules stemming from the pandemic that led to blurry evaluations of teams. “I think it’s important to show grace to the committee this year,” said Scott, whose conference has twice as many teams left as the far more ballyhooed Atlantic Coast and Southeastern conferences."- Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times
In the words of another Scott, Michael from The Office: "NO. NO. NO GOD NO."
Scott couldn't have picked a worst answer at the Pac-12's moment of triumph. If ever there was a time to come on strong and bang your chest on behalf of your conference, this was it.
The conference went 9-1 during the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament, with only Colorado failing to advance beyond the second round. UCLA upset No. 6 seed BYU, Oregon upset No. 2 seed Iowa, USC upset No. 3 seed Kansas, Oregon State blew through No. 5 seed Tennesee and No. 4 seed Oklahoma State. The Pac-12 dominated.
Commissioners for the SEC or the Big Ten would never dream of showing grace to the committee under these circumstances. They would be out front and center, railing against the perception that has built of their league being lesser. They would be doing the kind of PR Jon Wilner has taken up, pointing out how the Pac-12 has always been a strong basketball league.
Everyone understands the unique challenge presented to the selection committee this year. They don't need Larry Scott to defend them. The Pac-12 does. It's a job he's neglected for years, the utter detriment of the conference.
That includes USC basketball. The Trojans boast one of the best players in college basketball in Evan Mobley and narrowly missed out on the Pac-12 regular-season title but still ended up in the same region as Oregon, a team that won the conference crown on the strength of 10 wins in their last 11 games.
Why complain about that? Because you can. Because seeds of doubt planted in the minds of selection committee members can grow and benefit future Pac-12 squads. The commissioner is tasked with watering those seeds at every opportunity. Instead, Scott stands by and shrugs just like he's always done.
Dear Pac-12 presidents, please note Scott's approach and find a new commissioner who will do the exact opposite.