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The Demise of the PAC-12

James Chang

The Pac-12, one of the nation’s most decorated collegiate athletics conferences, is scheduled to disband in 2024. 

The downfall of this conference has been on the horizon for years, as they failed to extend their TV rights with major networks like ESPN and Fox in 2022.

The Pac-12’s lack of visibility on national television paired with subpar results from the majority of the teams began conversations of conference realignment, bringing the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten and Big 12 into the picture.

Schools with more successful athletic programs, such as Oregon, the University of California Los Angeles, the University of Southern California and the University of Washington, plan on transferring to the Big Ten, while athletic programs like Washington State and Oregon State will be the only two universities to remain in the Pac-12 amidst conference uncertainty.

Senior George Textor, a lifelong fan of the University of Washington, is looking forward to watching the Huskies play against stronger competition next year.

“It’s going to make for a more interesting season because they’re going to play bigger teams like Michigan, Ohio State, and all that,” Textor said. “It’s going to be much more entertaining than playing Stanford.”

Despite Textor’s perspective, some believe that this major shift on the college athletics landscape is only about one thing. Pinewood girls basketball Head Coach Doc Scheppler is disappointed Pac-12 teams are leaving the conference.

I feel terrible about it,” Scheppler said. “The bottom line is, like so many things, it’s all about money and money alone.”

Scheppler isn’t wrong, as programs like UCLA will make double their annual profit by moving to a larger conference. While this comes with better visibility for programs and their athletes, Scheppler claims this change will affect the well-being of student-athletes.

“The problem is going to be missed class time, more travel distance and heightened stress,” Scheppler said. “Especially for Cal [UC Berkeley] and Stanford in the ACC.”

Textor agrees.

“For the student-athletes also, now it’s a real coast-to-coast conference in the Big Ten,” Textor said. “And obviously, you know, traveling from Washington all the way to the East Coast is definitely not going to be easy.”

While change is exciting and gives fans something new to look forward to, it’s difficult to let go of the great memories the Pac-12 provided.

“I’m sad the Pac-12 [will be] gone,” Textor said. “I think there’s a lot of talent, and it’s a shame to see it all broken up.”

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