The Pac-12 may very well still be the “Conference of Champions” — but that’s just because there are only four teams left in it, so even a second-to-last finish in the conference would be a bronze-medal finish.
All jokes aside, the Pac-12 is in a dire, existential crisis after a number of top schools left the once-venerable conference in droves by Friday night.
It’ll actually be easier and quicker to recap which schools are still in the flailing conference:
- University of California, Berkeley
- Oregon State University
- Stanford University
- Washington State University
That’s it. Just those four scant coastal schools are what remains of the same conference that produced some mighty sports dynasties, like Lew Alcindor’s UCLA Bruins, Reggie Bush’s USC Trojans, or the recent run of Oregon Ducks supremacy.
(Yes, how weird is it that the iconic 2006 Rose Bowl between Texas, formerly of the Big 12, and USC, formerly of the Pac-12, would now be classified as an SEC vs. Big 12 battle?)
Those legacies will now find themselves in rapidly growing “super” conferences.
Here’s a list of where each soon-to-be former member of the Pac-12 will be relocating to:
Do you agree with the schools’ decision to leave the Pac-12?
Yes: 59% (73 Votes)
No: 41% (50 Votes)
University of Arizona, Arizona State University: The two rivals both announced their intention to join the Big 12 on Friday night, per ESPN.
University of Utah, University of Colorado, Boulder: The Utes in Salt Lake City, Utah, will be joining the Arizona schools. Colorado was actually one of the first to jump ship to the Big 12.
University of California, Los Angeles, University of Oregon, University of Southern California, University of Washington: This quartet of schools will be joining the Big Ten conference.
All conference realignment goes into effect July 1, 2024.
The Pac-12 put out a statement on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, confirming the sudden exodus:
Statement from the Pac-12 Conference: pic.twitter.com/XKwEqw9A3C
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) August 5, 2023
“Today’s news is incredibly disappointing for student-athletes, fans, alumni and staff of the Pac-12 who cherish the over 100-year history, tradition and rivalries of the Conference of Champions. We remain focused on securing the best possible future for each of our member universities,” the statement read.
Those remaining “member universities” are also facing their own grim prospects due to the Pac-12’s sudden downfall.
Cal and Stanford, according to ESPN, could very well be scooped up by the Big Ten conference, but short of that, it’s not looking good for the two schools.
“It leaves both very much in survival mode,” the sports outlet notes. “They both have large athletic departments that rely heavily on TV money to operate, and it’s hard to envision a scenario where both don’t end up cutting sports.”
Things are even grimmer for Oregon State and Washington State, both of which ESPN called “cultural fits” in the Mountain West conference.
“The problem here is that both athletic departments have long operated with the expectation of $30 million or more in TV money and in the Mountain West, they won’t get anywhere near that,” ESPN noted. “That shortfall would force both schools to essentially reinvent how their athletic departments operate.”
The Pac-12 began as the Pacific Coast Conference in 1915, before becoming the Athletic Association of Western Universities from 1959 to 1968.
In 1968, the conference adopted its current naming format, going with the Pac-8, before becoming the Pac-10 in 1978.
The Pac-12 properly came into existence in 2011.
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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
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