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Pac-12 Confidential

Bud Withers offers an inside look at the Pac-12 Conference and the national college scene.

March 13, 2014 at 2:40 PM

In a key change, Pac-12 hires WCC’s Zaninovich to assist Scott

The Pac-12 announced today the hire of Jamie Zaninovich, West Coast Conference commissioner, to be deputy commissioner to Larry Scott, replacing Kevin Weiberg. Here’s the release:

Some thoughts:

– Weiberg was a key figure for Scott, who came into the league in 2009 with a non-traditional background and needed a right-hand man with heavy experience dealing with the college administrative scene. Weiberg was that figure, helpful in particular in the kaleidoscope of conference realignment that burst forth starting in 2010. Weiberg had come to the league after being Big 12 commissioner, so he was well-connected for that role.

– Zaninovich is a Stanford grad who advanced the profile of the WCC, particularly in TV exposure. There were some occasional differences with the league’s basketball power, Gonzaga, over TV control, but given that the Zags are the obvious attraction in that conference to TV, some of that is probably inevitable.

– Zaninovich probably doesn’t have to change residences for his new job. Meanwhile, I would think that if Scott has any sort of wanderlust in the next few years, Zaninovich would be well-positioned to be the top guy in the Pac-12.

– The timing of the move seems curious, given that the overriding buzz this week is conference basketball tournaments. But perhaps that’s precisely why the announcement was made now — to avoid any future appearance of conflict of interest. Zaninovich is one of the members of the NCAA basketball committee meeting this week in Indianapolis, so presumably, he’ll be in the unique position of leaving the room when not one, but two, leagues are discussed — his old one and his new one.

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