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The Student News Site of Vel Phillips Memorial

Collapse of the Pac-12 Football Conference

What is the future of the once-stable twelve-team conference?
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The Pac-12 football conference is now down to just four universities after University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and the University of Utah announced in early August they would leave to join the Big 12 conference starting in 2024. 

The announcement comes after the University of Washington, University of Oregon, and University of Colorado Boulder earlier that day announced they would leave to join the Big Ten conference, along with former Pac-12 rivals UCLA and USC. This marks the last major realignment of college football conferences across the nation, and the departure of all 8 universities has now left the former 12-team conference to four: Stanford, California-Berkeley, Oregon State, and Washington State. 

While the four schools have yet to announce any conference changes, delving into why the Pac-12 has experienced such a dramatic downfall seemingly overnight is important. In contrast to the stability and athletic/academic success held by Big 10 and Big 12 in recent years, the Pac-12 conference seemed to lag behind the competition. In 2018, the then Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott promised that the conference would be able to “adapt, react, and take advantage of this new world media order that’s coming in a way others can’t.” 

Only, Scott failed to secure a Pac-12 media deal. And after resigning from the commissioner spot in 2022, his successor George Kliavkoff did not achieve any better results. While speculations surfaced that the Pac-12 would be able to secure media coverage by March Madness, when that didn’t happen, concerns about the conference’s future skyrocketed.

Media rights tend to be the major contributors in revenue for top athletic programs, especially over ticket sales and donor contributions. But because no media partners were interested in signing a deal with the Pac-12 conference, universities saw their programs and institutions facing an unstable future. When it became too difficult to bear the uncertainty, USC and UCLA pulled their foot out, and the other six universities merely followed their example.

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About the Contributor
Vince Kim
Vince Kim, Sports Editor
Vince Kim is a senior. He loves finding interesting sports stories and bringing them into daily conversations. He enjoys playing guitar, drawing, tutoring math, and reading. He hopes to provide more on the latest updates and write enjoyable sports stories.
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