Pac-12 Hires Experienced NFL & College Football Executive Merton Hanks to Oversee Football Operations

SAN FRANCISCO – The Pac-12 announced today that it has appointed longtime NFL and college football executive Merton Hanks as its new Senior Associate Commissioner for Football Operations, effective September 8.  In his new role, Hanks will be responsible for all aspects of Pac-12 football administration, including all football initiatives and programs such as scheduling, officiating, replay command center, operations, Pac-12 Football Championship Game and bowl relationships.  He will also serve as the primary contact for Pac-12 athletic directors and football coaches, bowl partners and NCAA administrators on football matters.   Hanks will report directly to Commissioner Larry Scott and be based out of the Conference’s headquarters in San Francisco.

“I am very pleased to welcome Merton Hanks to the Pac-12 to lead and drive the continued success of our Pac-12 football operations,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott.  “Football success is a priority for our athletic programs and the Conference, and having someone with the college football and NFL experience that Merton brings to the table will be a great asset for our members and senior management team.”

“I am excited to be joining the Conference of Champions and to have the opportunity to contribute to the continued growth of the Pac-12’s football programs,” said Hanks.  “The Pac-12 boasts world class universities and an incredible football history, and I look forward to working with the Pac-12 athletic directors, administrators, and Commissioner Scott’s great team to support our student-athletes success on and off the field.”

John Canzano, columnist for the Oregonian and radio host at Portland’s 750 The Game had a positive response to the Pac-12’s latest hire (you can read his column below):

Arizona State University Vice President for University Athletics, and current Chair of the Pac-12 Athletic Director group, Ray Anderson added: “Merton and I worked together at the NFL for close to a decade, and during that time he was an incredible asset to the league thanks to his knowledge of all aspects of football operations, ability to connect with players and coaches, and business acumen. Pac-12 football programs will benefit greatly from the appointment of Merton to our Conference senior management team.”

As part of his role at the Pac-12, Hanks will serve on the College Football Officiating Board of Managers, College Football Officiating Competition Committee and the NCAA Football Rules Committee.

Hanks joins the Pac-12 from Conference USA, where since 2016 he has served as Senior Associate Commissioner responsible for football along with baseball operations, including scheduling, officiating, game operations, player conduct and safety, among other responsibilities.  Hanks was credited with achieving a nationally recognized level of training for officials at Conference USA, along with ethnic and gender diversity among officials.  Entering the 2020 season, Conference USA retained the highest percentage of NFL officials in service with the NFL, including the first female official for the NFL.  Hanks served on the inaugural NCAA Football Competition Committee and was subsequently voted the second chair of the committee, following the chairmanship of Arizona State University Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson.

Prior to joining Conference USA, Hanks spent 13 years with the National Football League, where he held the position of Vice President, Football Operations & Compliance since 2011.  In that role, he served as the NFL Compliance Appeals officer, instituted safety and equipment upgrades, and coordinated departmental business strategy.  Hanks served as the Co-Chair of the NFL College Relations and Campus Visitation Committee and served as the lead liaison to AFCA, NFLPA, NCAA and NFL club administration.  Prior to his promotion to Vice President in 2011, Hanks served in the NFL’s Football Operations and Consumer Products areas for eight years.

Hanks played nine seasons in the National Football League, including eight with the San Francisco 49ers.  He was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time All-Pro member.  Hanks was a starting safety on the 49ers team that won Super Bowl XXIX over San Diego in January 1995.  Hanks was nominated for the 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.  Since his retirement as a player, Hanks has served in a number of radio and television roles, while also conducting speaking engagements around the country.

A native of Dallas, Hanks graduated from Lake Highlands High School. He played college football at Iowa, earning a B.A. in Liberal Arts in 1990.  Hanks also completed the Sport Administration master’s program at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business Executive Education in 2005 and 2012. He currently resides in Dallas with his wife Marva and will be relocating to San Francisco.


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