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Washington & Oregon Officially to Leave Pac-12 for Big Ten

The Huskies have reportedly given notice to their century-old conference

Washington v Oregon Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images

Despite a back and forth roller coaster this morning on social media that saw the Pac-12 miraculously saved then pushed back into a grave, it appears that Washington and Oregon will put the final nails into the conference’s coffin. Both schools’ presidents have reportedly given notice that they plan to accept to an invitation to join the Big Ten.

The move in conjunction with existing momentum for Arizona to join the Big 12 and offers for ASU and Utah to also jump likely kills any incarnation of the Pac-12. The likely remaining 4 schools (California, Stanford, Oregon State, and Washington State) are facing the potential of either trying to go independent or join with the Mountain West conference.

This decision on the part of Washington has reasonable detractors on both sides.

We have yet to see firm numbers on the media deal proposed by the Pac-12 and what is being offered by the Big Ten but it seems safe to say that the B1G will be able to offer the higher number even with additional travel costs considered. That becomes extra important because the Huskies are about to see a bump in their debt-service payments that were postponed during the pandemic and the proposed Pac-12 deal may not have been enough to cover them.

Moving to the Big Ten secures the Huskies a spot in what is almost now cemented as the “Power 2” and prevent Washington athletics from potentially getting left behind.

This is still a legitimately depressing moment. The geographic rivalries that were the backbone of college football are officially dead, at least for Washington. Annual contests against Washington State and Oregon State would have to be non-conference affairs and they’re no guarantee. The only road game that Husky fans will be able to take by car is the trip down to Eugene.

Part of the reason that the overlords at Fox, who orchestrated the hostile takeover of the major West programs for the B1G, see any appeal in the move is owning the late night inventory space. That means that you should mentally prepare yourself that almost every Husky home game for the foreseeable future will be in the 7:30p PT window. It’s coming.

Finally, in the new format of the College Football Playoff there’s no advantage to being in a mega-conference. Staying in a reduced membership Pac-12 would’ve meant Washington was only truly competing with Oregon and Utah if they stayed for a conference championship and a spot in the CFP. That format may not last forever but in the short-term it drastically reduces the Huskies making the CFP in a conference with all of Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, USC, and Oregon. There are bids up for grabs but not that many.

We’ll have more concrete details on the move as they are released.


Update 3:15p PT

The University of Oregon officially announced the move to the Big Ten at 3:04p while the Big Ten put out a press release a few minutes later. We are still awaiting official word on the share of TV revenue that Washington and Oregon will receive but is expected to be somewhere in the neighborhood of half of the rest of that conference with the potential to frontload those numbers.

Meanwhile, the remaining members of the 4 corner schools have all applied to head to the Big 12 as expected after Oregon and Washington made the decision to leave as well.