Pac-12 hires new commissioner to lead two-team league into uncertain future

The Pac-12 Conference has hired a new commissioner to take charge of a league with only two schools remaining and two years left to figure out how it might survive beyond that.

Her name is Teresa Gould, who previously served as deputy commissioner of the league and has more than 30 years of experience in college sports administration. She replaces commissioner George Kliavkoff, whose departure was announced on Friday. Gould now becomes the first female commissioner of a so-called Power Five conference - an exclusive club that essentially will become the Power Four after the departure later this year of 10 Pac-12 teams to the Big Ten, Big 12 and Atlantic Coast Conferences.

Teresa Gould was promoted to Pac-12 Conference commissioner as the conference tries to navigate a murky future.
Teresa Gould was promoted to Pac-12 Conference commissioner as the conference tries to navigate a murky future.

“We find ourselves navigating an extraordinarily complex time in our industry,” Gould said in a statement Monday. “The challenges we face must be met head on, with a reinvigorated energy to transform and forge ahead. I look forward to working with both campus and national leaders to find solutions that will preserve opportunities for student-athletes and set us up for long term viability and success.”

What is Teresa Gould stepping into at the Pac-12?

Gould inherits a mess after the latest wave of college football realignment knocked the Pac-12 down to two members: Washington State and Oregon State. Those schools appointed her to her new job and now control the Pac-12’s assets and future revenues after the other 10 schools decided to leave for greener pastures starting this summer.

Under NCAA rules, the two-team Pac-12 has a two-year grace period to continue as a league in the Football Bowl Subdivision, which otherwise requires leagues to have at least eight members. After that, the future is uncertain, though the Pac-12 could remake its brand by combining with the Mountain West Conference.

In the meantime, Oregon State and Washington State will fill their football schedules with Mountain West teams and other non-conference games besides playing each other. In basketball and other sports, Oregon State and Washington State will compete as affiliate members of the West Coast Conference. The Pac-12 also said it will continue to sponsor select sports, sign media rights partnerships, and produce live events and content from the Pac-12 Enterprises studio in San Ramon, Calif.

What is Teresa Gould's background?

Gould starts on the job March 1. As deputy commissioner, Gould oversaw management of all Pac-12 sports, including oversight of championship events, rules compliance and operations. She joined the league in 2018 and previously served in leadership positions at the University of California, Davis and the University of California, Berkeley.

In her new job, she takes on a role with a far different job description than 2021, when Kliavkoff came over from MGM Resorts International, where he served as president of entertainment and sports.

“You would need someone with a specific skill set based on what the services are going to be for the next two years,” Washington State athletic director Pat Chun told USA TODAY Sports in November when asked about a potential leadership change.

Kliavkoff’s official departure date is Feb. 29.

“Teresa’s deep knowledge of collegiate athletics and unwavering commitment to student-athletes makes her uniquely qualified to help guide the Pac-12 Conference during this period of unprecedented change in college sports,” Washington State University President Kirk Schulz said in a statement Monday. “As the first female commissioner of an Autonomy Five conference, Teresa will be able to bring new perspectives and fresh ideas to the table as the industry works to find its way through this shifting landscape. We look forward to her leadership as we write the next chapter in the Pac-12’s storied history."

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Pac-12 hires new commissioner to take charge of realignment wreckage