Just when you think the Pac-12 and the Pac-12 Network couldn’t be seen in a worse light, another story comes on that make you shake you head at the conference.
On Monday, Jon Wilner of the Mercury News reported that around a month before the conference furloughed 79 and laid off 15 employees, it paid out millions in bonuses – ahead of the typical time of year bonuses are paid for network employees (and on schedule for conference employees).
Four employees from the Pac-12 Networks confirmed that their bonuses were paid this summer for performance in the 2020 fiscal year. Each requested anonymity because of the personal nature of the issue. One was willing to state the amount of the bonus: $10,000. Another indicated some bonuses covered a gamut in the four- and lower-five-figure range.
All four said they usually received bonuses in September or October for the prior fiscal year and were surprised by the expedited timeline.
Bonuses for employees on the conference side were also paid in July, which is the standard schedule for that division.
The conference claims that the bonuses were timed to track with pay cuts for higher-paid employees.
A conference spokesperson said the payment timeline was accelerated to coincide with salary reductions for the highly-paid employees and because — with furloughs and layoffs possible if the football season was disrupted — the payments could be used to “support the retention of key employees.”
The spokesperson added that salary reductions and bonuses for all employees have been designed to track with similar moves on the campuses, where the loss of athletic revenue due to the pandemic has caused a series of expense-reduction measures.
The total amount of bonuses paid was not revealed by the conference, though a manager estimated to Wilner that 50 employees received bonuses. Scott received $2.2 million in bonuses and incentives for the 2019 fiscal year, while another $1.35 million in bonuses went to the ten next highest-paid employees. Even assuming Scott and the top-tier employees didn’t get *as* much as they did a year ago, a 50% bonus cut would still mean that more than $1.5 million was paid out to executives and other employees, weeks before half of the conference’s employees were either furloughed or laid off.
In any other conference, this would be a jarring report. For the Pac-12, it’s just another Monday.