PAC-12 private equity deal to bail out UO finances?

Or just Rob Mullens’s? A skeptical John Canzano has the story here:

I did some digging into the proposal Pac-12 Conference commissioner Larry Scott has pitched his bosses.

The “Pac-12 NewCo” plan involves selling a 10 percent stake in a newly created media-rights holding company to private-equity investors. The deal is designed to infuse a one-time $500 million jackpot into the conference’s cash-disadvantaged athletic departments.

However, Scott’s proposal is based on a dreamy $5 billion valuation of the media enterprise. And we all know it’s not likely worth anything close to that. …

In the last three weeks, I sent inquiries to all 12 members of the Pac-12 CEO Group, asking a question — have they asked for an independent review of the conference’s finances?

Not the cursory drive-by look at the books that is typically done.

Not a cozy internal audit by Scott’s lieutenants.

A deep dive, like the one a private-equity firm would conduct.

Six members of the CEO Group responded. None of them indicated an outside audit had been ordered. Oregon State’s Dr. Edward Ray suggested I email the conference commissioner to ask him directly. So did USC interim president Dr. Wanda Austin. Arizona State’s Michael Crow passed the request to his vice president of communications.

Katie Pacquet, at ASU, issued a statement: “The conference is audited according to conference policy.”

A non-answer, essentially.

Oregon president Michael Schill didn’t respond. But a spokesperson for Schill, Kelly McIver, reached out via email and wrote: “Heard that ASU’s Michael Crow may have delivered a response on behalf of the rest of that CEO Group… does that match what you had?”

Um, no. …

It gets more depressing from there.


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