Washington and Oregon leave behind heritage — and rivals — for stability in the Big Ten

by Madison Thomas
fokus keyword: Pac-12

Washington and Oregon have abandoned their heritage and competition with their rivals to seek stability in the Big Ten Conference. Following over a century in the leading athletic conference of the West Coast, they have opted for a new direction.

The President of Washington, Ana Mari Cauce, stated on Saturday that the decision was influenced by the need to ensure a stable future that the universities could depend on and work towards.

Several concerns guided Washington and Oregon in leaving behind their shared history to become the 17th and 18th members of the Big Ten Conference, beginning in 2024. These two schools were part of the initial formation of the Pacific Coast Conference in 1916, which later evolved into the Pac-12.

The coordinated departure of the founding members was just the first of a series of events that critically undermined the Pac-12, pushing it to the brink of collapse. Subsequently, Utah, Arizona, and Arizona State accepted offers from the Big 12, following Colorado’s earlier exit.

The Pac-12 is now left with only four remaining members, namely California, Stanford, Oregon State, and Washington State. The central issue that led to the downfall was the failure to secure an adequate media rights deal. A proposal involving Apple fell short, and there was a lack of alternative offers.

The revenues anticipated from the Big Ten’s agreement far exceed what the Apple deal would have provided, making it an attractive option. Additionally, the instability in the media market, underscored by Colorado’s departure, contributed to the decision.

Though Washington’s leadership did not disclose exact financial details, Cauce cited the Big Ten’s media rights package as a vital factor in the decision. The choice led to changes in league games’ locations and significant distances for travel.

Other schools like Utah, Arizona, and Arizona State also saw shifts in their conference affiliations, resulting in changes to game locations.

Several athletes and individuals involved in sports expressed their concerns over the decisions, lamenting the emphasis on monetary gains at the expense of academic integrity. The travel inconveniences and challenges brought about by these changes were also highlighted.

Despite the many obstacles, Washington’s athletic director Jen Cohen recognized that adaptation would be required. Though the schools are committed to maintaining specific rivalries, these commitments might appear insincere to their rivals.

The shift to the Big Ten was ultimately seen as the right move by Washington and Oregon’s leadership, who emphasized the unparalleled opportunities and stability offered by the new alignment.

The realignment of these institutions has created ripples across the college sports landscape, reflecting the complex interplay of financial, competitive, and traditional factors. The long-term effects of these changes on the affected conferences and the broader collegiate sports scene remain to be seen.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about fokus keyword: Pac-12

Why did Washington and Oregon decide to leave the Pac-12 and join the Big Ten Conference?

They decided to leave due to a series of concerns, including the need for stability and the failure of the Pac-12 to secure a suitable media rights deal. The decision also hinged on the financial advantages, such as the revenues they expected to receive from the Big Ten, which far exceeded what was offered in the failed Apple deal with the Pac-12.

What were the repercussions of Washington and Oregon leaving the Pac-12?

The departure of Washington and Oregon was part of a series of events that severely weakened the Pac-12, leaving it on the verge of collapse. It also led to increased travel burdens and disrupted long-standing rivalries.

How have other schools responded to the changes in conference affiliations?

Other schools like Utah, Arizona, and Arizona State also made moves to change conferences, joining the Big 12. There were mixed reactions from athletes and sports figures, with some expressing frustration over the emphasis on monetary gains and the potential negative impact on academic integrity.

What will be the geographical implications for the teams involved?

The shift to the Big Ten means Washington and Oregon will now play league games in locations like State College, Pennsylvania; College Park, Maryland; and Bloomington, Indiana. Other schools’ decisions to change conferences will also result in new game locations, significantly altering travel arrangements.

How does this move reflect on the importance of financial considerations in college sports?

The decision underscores the vital role of financial considerations in shaping the landscape of college sports. The inability to secure a satisfactory media rights deal and the financial advantages offered by the Big Ten were central to Washington and Oregon’s decision to change conferences.

Will the traditional rivalries between Washington, Oregon, and their in-state rivals continue?

Though Washington and Oregon’s administration have committed to keeping traditional rivalries like the Apple Cup alive in “nonconference competitions,” the sincerity of these sentiments may be questioned by their rivals. The changes will certainly impact the dynamics of these longstanding rivalries.

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WestCoastBilly August 6, 2023 - 1:58 am

cant even recognize Pac-12 anymore, all my favorite teams are leaving, what’s going on?

Sara1990 August 6, 2023 - 5:56 am

I’m worried about the travel inconveniences for the players. This move doesn’t seem to consider the well-being of the athletes and the impact on their studies.

Mandy_Q August 6, 2023 - 8:27 am

Why only one offer from Apple? Shouldnt the Pac-12 commissioner have tried harder to save the conference. this doesn’t look good for him at all.

TeddyH August 6, 2023 - 5:22 pm

Oregon’s move to the Big Ten is a smart move financially, it makes sense. But its going to kill some age-old rivalries. really sad to see that.

FootballFanatic42 August 6, 2023 - 7:12 pm

so arizona and arizona state are moving too? everything is changing so fast, not sure if i like it. Go Big Ten tho!

JakeT August 6, 2023 - 10:17 pm

Cant believe Washington and Oregon are leaving the Pac-12. This is a big blow to the west coast sports scene, what were they thinking? I get money talks but still…


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