UW and Oregon officially depart Pac-12 for Big Ten

Aug 4, 2023, 9:50 AM | Updated: 3:36 pm

UW Huskies Oregon Pac 12...

The line of scrimmage between the Oregon Ducks and UW Huskies on Nov. 12, 2022. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

(Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

After spending over a century in the Pac-12, the University of Washington and University of Oregon will be following USC and UCLA to the Big Ten.

Huard: ‘Tremendous mixed emotions’ over Pac-12 shakeup

After reports surfaced Friday morning that the two rival schools would be accepting an offer to join the Big Ten, the Big Ten conference and UW and Oregon made the move official Friday afternoon shortly after it was reported by ESPN’s Pete Thamel that the Big Ten presidents voted UW and Oregon into the conference. According to the Big Ten, UW and Oregon will officially join the conference on Aug. 2 of 2024.

“The Big Ten is a thriving conference with strong athletic and academic traditions, and we are excited about competing at the highest level on a national stage,” UW president Ana Mari Cauce said in a statement announcing the move. “My top priority must be to do what is best for our student-athletes and our university, and this move will help ensure a strong future for our athletics program.”

“We have tremendous respect and gratitude for the Pac-12, its treasured history and traditions. At the same time, the college athletics landscape has changed dramatically in recent years,” UW athletic director Jen Cohen said. “The Big Ten’s history of athletic and academic success and long-term stability best positions our teams for future success, and we are energized at the opportunity to compete at the highest level against some of the best programs in the country.”

In addition to UW and Oregon departing for the Big Ten, Arizona, Arizona State and Utah will be joining the Big 12, leaving just Washington State, Oregon State, Stanford and California as the four remaining teams in the Pac-12, though the future of the conference is very unclear.

As for the Apple Cup between UW and WSU, Cauce said she hopes it continues.

“Even with this move, we remain committed to the Apple Cup and to competing with WSU across all of our sports,” she said.

Bumpus: What’s next for WSU after UW and Oregon leave Pac-12

The Big Ten, however, will have 18 schools with UW and Oregon joining the conference.

A big issue with the Pac-12’s future was the lack of a media rights deal. With other power-five conferences like the SEC and Big 12 locking down media deals, the Pac-12 has been left behind.

The latest reports had been that Apple TV+ was the frontrunner to be the conference’s next media home, but the reception was rather frosty because the platform is subscription-base and was almost certainly going to bring in less revenue than other conference’s media deals.

According to Matt Fortuna of The Inside Zone, UW and Oregon’s annual cut of the Big Ten’s revenue distribution will start at $30 million and grow by $1 million each year until the conference’s next TV deal, which will be 2030-31. According to Yahoo, Pac-12 schools likely would have made between $20 and 25 million from the Apple TV deal.

UW and Oregon had been tied to the Big Ten since USC and UCLA announced they’d be departing the Pac-12 last June, but as recently as Friday morning, there had been some buzz that the two schools would perhaps stay in the conference after all.

UW had a Board of Regents meeting late on Thursday, and reports later surfaced that the Pac-12 had a call with the nine remaining universities Friday morning where there was some belief that the schools would sign a grant of rights agreement that would keep Washington and Oregon in the conference.

But after no agreement came about and there still being no media rights deal in place, the reports then came out that Washington and Oregon would leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten.

It truly marks the end of an era for both Washington and likely the Pac-12 as a whole. UW was one of the first schools to join the conference, as was Oregon, back in 1915.

Video: Reaction to reports of UW and Oregon leaving Pac-12 for Big Ten

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