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Report: Pac-12 Paid Early Bonuses Ahead of Layoffs

Andy Berg

The Pac-12 managed to distribute performance bonuses to the highest-paid staff at its San Francisco headquarters ahead of dozens of layoffs and furloughs related to COVID-19 cutbacks.

The Mercury News reported that four employees confirmed that their bonuses were paid this summer for performance in the 2020 fiscal year. One employee who wished to remain anonymous confirmed that their bonus was $10,000.

All four people The Mercury News talked to said they would normally receive their bonuses for the prior fiscal year in September or October. The people said they were surprised by the expedited timeline.

A month after the bonuses were distributed, the Pac-12 laid off 94 of its 196 employees.

“I have no idea why they changed the schedule, but I was surprised,’’ one employee said. “I was just told, ‘Heads up, bonuses will be paid at the end of the week.’’’

A spokesperson for the conference said the payment timeline had been accelerated to coincide with salary reductions for the highest-paid employees and because the payments could be used to support employee retention.

The Pac-12 has been seen a major revenue hit due to the cancelled NCAA tournament and the disrupted football season.

To cut costs, commissioner Larry Scott took a 20 percent salary reduction in early April, and performance bonuses for FY20 that were paid in July were reduced to align with the salary reductions, the conference spokesperson said. 

Scott has committed to taking a 12 percent pay cut for FY21, which amounted to about $636,000 based on the most-recent financial information available for his total compensation.

The Mercury News, which obtained tax documents, estimates that Scott earned $2.2 million in “bonus and incentive compensation” — in addition to his base salary of $2.95 million.

The tax documents also show approximately $1.35 million in bonus payments for the next 10-highest paid employees across the conference and networks divisions. That total includes $314,000 for Shuken, the president of the networks.

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