What Happened to the Pac 12? Why are Schools Leaving the Pac 12? Who Left the Pac 12?

What Happened to the Pac 12? 

The Pac-12 Conference has faced significant challenges and changes in recent times, leading to uncertainties about its future. One of the key factors contributing to this situation is the struggle to secure a long-term media rights deal. Unlike other Power 5 conferences, the Pac-12 has not yet finalized a lucrative media contract, putting it at a financial disadvantage compared to its counterparts.

Adding to the instability, some of the Pac-12’s flagship schools, USC and UCLA, decided to join the Big Ten conference, a move that raised eyebrows due to the geographical mismatch and historical significance of these schools in the Pac-12. This departure of major institutions weakened the conference’s position and left it scrambling to fill the void.

In response to the changing landscape of college athletics and to safeguard their interests, other schools within the Pac-12 have been exploring alternative options. Colorado, for instance, decided to return to the Big 12, a conference it had previously been a part of before joining the Pac-12. This move was motivated by various factors, including potential financial benefits and alignment with their football coach, Deion Sanders, and his recruiting priorities.

Meanwhile, the Big 12 has taken proactive steps to secure its future by expanding its membership and securing a favorable media rights deal. The conference invited schools like Houston, UCF, Cincinnati, and BYU, bolstering its ranks and enhancing its financial stability.

Throughout this process, the Pac-12’s leadership has been striving to keep the conference intact. The Pac-12 Commissioner, George Kliavkoff, has expressed confidence in the schools’ commitment to each other and the conference. However, behind the scenes, there have been ongoing discussions about potential moves and realignment, highlighting the uncertainty and challenges faced by the conference.

The Pac-12’s future remains uncertain, and there are questions about its ability to retain its remaining members and maintain its position among the Power 5 conferences. As the landscape of college athletics continues to evolve, conferences must navigate complex financial and strategic decisions to secure their position in the competitive landscape of collegiate sports.

Why are Schools Leaving the Pac 12?

Several schools have made the decision to leave the Pac-12 Conference, a move that has raised questions about the conference’s stability and attractiveness. The reasons behind these departures are multifaceted and can be attributed to various factors.

Media Rights Deal: One significant issue facing the Pac-12 is the struggle to secure a lucrative long-term media rights deal. Unlike other Power 5 conferences, the Pac-12 has not been able to secure a favorable agreement, leading to financial disparities between the schools in the conference and those in other conferences with more lucrative media deals.

Geographical Mismatch: The departure of schools like USC and UCLA to the Big Ten raised concerns about the geographical fit of the Pac-12. The long distances between schools in the conference can result in late game times for viewers in other regions, potentially affecting television ratings and fan engagement.

Recruiting and Exposure: Schools may be seeking to align themselves with conferences that offer better exposure and recruiting opportunities. With the recent Supreme Court decision allowing college athletes to earn money for their name, image, and likeness (NIL), schools are increasingly focused on providing attractive platforms for potential recruits to enhance their earning potential.

Financial Benefits: Joining a different conference may offer schools the potential for increased revenue and financial stability. Conferences with more lucrative media deals and larger fan bases can offer schools greater financial resources for athletic programs and facilities.

Conference Strength and Prestige: Schools may believe that aligning with a different conference will enhance their competitiveness and prestige. Joining conferences with historically strong football and basketball programs can boost a school’s standing in the college sports landscape.

Strategic Decisions: The changing landscape of college athletics has prompted schools to evaluate their long-term strategic positioning. In a rapidly evolving environment, schools are seeking opportunities to ensure their future success and relevance.

As schools continue to assess their options and prioritize their interests, the Pac-12 faces challenges in retaining its members and reinforcing its position among the Power 5 conferences. Conference realignment remains an ongoing process, and schools must carefully consider the potential benefits and drawbacks of their decisions to ensure they are best positioned for success in the dynamic world of college sports.


Who Left the Pac 12?

Several prominent schools have recently left the Pac-12 Conference, leading to significant changes in the college sports landscape. The schools that have decided to part ways with the Pac-12 are:

USC (University of Southern California): USC is a well-known powerhouse in college sports, and its departure from the Pac-12 was a surprising development. The Trojans’ move to the Big Ten Conference, which occurred last year, marked a significant shift in the traditional conference affiliations.

UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles): Another iconic institution, UCLA, also made the decision to leave the Pac-12 and join the Big Ten. UCLA’s departure, alongside USC’s, further impacted the Pac-12’s standing in college sports.

Colorado (University of Colorado Boulder): The University of Colorado, after being a member of the Pac-12 since 2011, chose to move back to the Big 12 Conference. This decision was particularly noteworthy as it followed the departure of USC and UCLA, leaving the Pac-12 with fewer flagship schools.

These schools’ decisions to leave the Pac-12 have raised questions about the conference’s stability and competitiveness. The departure of such well-established and respected institutions has implications for the Pac-12’s position among the Power 5 conferences and has prompted discussions about the changing landscape of college athletics. As the college sports landscape continues to evolve, schools and conferences must carefully evaluate their options to ensure they remain competitive and relevant in this dynamic environment.

Who is in the Big 10?

University Name


Indiana University (IU) Bloomington, Indiana
University of Maryland College Park, Maryland
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan
Michigan State University East Lansing, Michigan
Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio
Pennsylvania State Univ State College, Penn.
Rutgers University New Brunswick, NJ
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Ill.
University of Iowa Iowa City, Iowa
University of Minnesota Minneapolis/St. Paul
University of Nebraska Lincoln, Nebraska
Northwestern University Evanston, Illinois
Purdue University West Lafayette, Ind.
University of Wisconsin Madison, Wisconsin

Why are Teams Leaving the Pac 12?

Teams are leaving the Pac-12 due to a combination of factors, primarily related to financial incentives, exposure, and realignment strategies. The landscape of college sports has been rapidly evolving, driven by the pursuit of lucrative TV deals and the desire for enhanced competitive advantages.

One of the main drivers behind teams leaving the Pac-12 is the pursuit of better financial opportunities. In recent years, college sports have become a multi-billion-dollar industry, and TV contracts play a crucial role in generating revenue for athletic programs. The Power Five conferences, including the Pac-12, have secured substantial media rights deals, offering member schools substantial payouts. However, some teams have sought even more lucrative contracts, leading them to explore options outside the Pac-12.

Exposure is another crucial factor. Teams are seeking better TV windows and broader national reach to attract top-notch athletes and enhance their brand value. As networks and streaming providers fiercely compete for sports broadcasting rights, conferences with larger fan bases and broader geographical reach have a strategic advantage in securing attractive media deals. Some teams believe that leaving the Pac-12 and joining other conferences will provide them with better exposure and financial opportunities.

Conference realignment is also influenced by the desire to strengthen competitive positions. Joining conferences with traditionally stronger football or basketball programs can boost a team’s recruiting potential and elevate its competitive stature. This pursuit of success has led teams to explore new opportunities in conferences that are perceived to offer a more favorable competitive landscape.

Additionally, the recent Supreme Court decision allowing college athletes to earn money from their name, image, and likeness (NIL) has added another dimension to conference realignment. Schools want to position themselves as attractive destinations for top athletes who now have the opportunity to profit from their athletic achievements. Some teams believe that aligning with conferences that provide better financial and promotional opportunities for athletes’ NIL rights could give them a recruiting edge.

Ultimately, the decisions of teams to leave the Pac-12 are driven by a combination of financial considerations, exposure opportunities, and competitive ambitions. The shifting landscape of college sports and the pursuit of improved financial and competitive positions have led to significant changes in conference affiliations and the college sports landscape as a whole.

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