Five PAC-12 Schools announce departures from the PAC-12 Conference in 2024

Courtesy of PAC-12 conference.
Courtesy of PAC-12 conference.

On Friday, five PAC-12 Conference schools announced that they will be leaving the conference in 2024, leaving the conference with just four teams. 

The remaining Four Corner Schools (the University of Utah, Arizona State University and the University of Utah) announced on Friday evening that they’ll be joining the BIG-12 Conference in 2024. In a separate move, the University of Oregon and the University of Washington both announced Friday morning they would be joining the BIG-10 Conference in 2024.

The departures of these five schools, along with the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Southern California and the University of California Los Angeles, will occur in 2024, which coincides with the end of the current PAC-12 media deal. According to ESPN’s Pete Thamel, they won’t have to pay an exit fee from the conference. 

Before the departures of the five schools from the PAC-12 Conference on Friday, the expectation was that the remaining schools would stay together and sign the media rights contract with Apple, according to Oregonian sports writer James Crepea. However,  the University of Oregon and the University of Washington no-showed the meeting, according to Crepea, a likely indication that they would no longer be members of the PAC-12. 

The unprecedented realignment moves have put the future of the PAC-12 Conference in jeopardy and leaves the future of Oregon State University in the PAC-12 uncertain. OSU President Jayathi Murthy issued a statement following the moves of Oregon and Washington to the BIG-10, mentioning that Oregon State is looking at all options outside of the PAC-12.

With all these realignment moves finalized, eight schools are now set to finish their final athletic seasons in the PAC-12 Conference in 2024. How this will affect OSU specifically after the 2024 season remains to be seen, as there is much to sort out, from what conference Oregon State will be in and what conference schedules will look like for athletics beyond 2024-2025.

The moves of both the University of Oregon and the University of Washington to the BIG-10 Conference came after both schools applied for membership Friday, being accepted in a unanimous vote by the BIG-10 presidents later in the day, according to Thamel.

Oregon’s move to the BIG-10 would likely mark the end of the ‘Rivalry Series’ with Oregon State, breaking a 129-year-long  rivalry between both schools. 

University of Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullins stated in a press release after Oregon’s move to the BIG-10 was approved that their goal was to maintain their in-state rivalry with Oregon State.

However, Oregon State Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Scott Barnes has not yet addressed whether the “Rivalry Series” will continue with Oregon once they change conferences. No decision has been made right now by Oregon State Athletics.

Although both the moves of the University of Oregon and the University of Washington to the BIG-10 have been finalized by both schools themselves and the BIG-10 presidents, members of the Oregon State Legislature announced on Friday that they are calling for a legislative panel to assess the impact of Oregon leaving for the BIG-10 Conference, according to KVAL anchor Brandon Kamerman.

According to Kamerman, the panel would assess the potential financial impacts that the University of Oregon’s move to the BIG-10 could have on the state as well as impacts on OSU in a depleted PAC-12. However, there’s likely little substantial legislative action that could be done to stop the move, according to Oregonian sports columnist Bill Oram.

The move of both the University of Oregon and the University of Washington to the BIG-10 put the membership of the BIG-10 Conference at 18 schools, a number bolstered by UCLA and USC, who announced last year that they’ll leave the PAC-12 for the BIG-10 Conference in 2024.

While the moves of the University of Oregon and the University of Washington to the BIG-10 Conference were finalized on Friday morning, the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and the University of Utah announced in separate statements on Friday evening their move to the BIG-12 Conference in 2024.

On Thursday evening, the Arizona Board of Regents held a meeting to decide whether both the University of Arizona and Arizona State would remain members of the PAC-12. Following the meeting,  the University of Arizona was approved to join the BIG-12, according to Thamel. Utah and Arizona State were approved to join the conference on Friday.

The announcement of these three schools announcing they’ll be leaving the PAC-12 Conference for the BIG-12 Conference in 2024 comes on the heels of Colorado announcing their move to the BIG-12 a week ago. The move of Utah, Arizona, and Arizona State to the BIG-12 now brings the membership of the BIG-12 Conference to 16 schools in 2024.

These moves finalize a dizzying downward spiral for the PAC-12 Conference, which has now lost eight schools in the span of 18 months. The conference is now officially left with four member schools: Oregon State University, Washington State University, the University of California Berkeley, and Stanford University.

The PAC-12 struggles to finalize a competitive media deal ultimately also played a role in these moves on Friday. The unprecedented realignment of the PAC-12 Conference has now put a disappointing likely end to a conference that held rich tradition and historic rivalries across the west coast. 

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