Today: Apr 21, 2024

Column: Pac-12 farewell

Dillon Flanigan- Sports Editor

If college football fans were watching college football this season, they might have recognized that this past fall has been the last of the Pac-12. 

In Division I football, many teams are urged to chase conferences that have larger television contracts. This is because universities that have a higher winning percentage and level of success tend to rake in millions of dollars in broadcasting revenue alone.  

The top three conferences that have become wealthy through television revenue are the BIG 10, Southeastern and Atlantic Coastal Conferences. The two other conferences that make up the power five conferences are the BIG 12 and the Pac-12. 

The BIG 10 conference is primarily made up of 14 teams spanning from New Jersey to Nebraska. The Southeastern Conference is aligned with its name, with 14 teams representing south of Missouri, east of Texas. An additional 14 teams make up the Atlantic Coast Conference, ACC, from Florida to New York and Massachusetts to Indiana. 

In the coming summer, 10 of the 12 teams are leaving the Pac-12 and moving east. Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah are moving to the BIG 12. While Oregon, University of California Los Angeles, University of Sothern California and Washington are moving to the BIG 10 as California and Stanford are moving to the ACC. 

The moves will call for automatic fees costing millions for institutions to relocate to another conference, not to mention the travel cost for multiple cross-country flights for each sport each year. The additional travel and time zone changes will affect the west and east coast teams. 

Student athletes who committed to the west coast schools to play closer to home are not happy. There may be more transfers among student athletes who do not agree with the decisions. 

“I picked to play in a high-level softball conference where being close to home would allow my parents to come watch my games,” Oregon softball player Paige Sinicki said on the platform X. “It’s unfortunate to hear that my senior year, I’ll be playing as far as New Jersey-Rutgers as well as other east coast schools.” 

An upside for each program is that this conference realignment expands the recruitment for all athletic teams. It provides opportunities for recruits and marketing. In the day of name, image, likeliness, NIL, recruiting is the lifeline of any successful athletic program. 

However, the Pac-12 has encountered difficulties in attracting and retaining elite talent. The rise of other conferences like the BIG 10 and Southeastern Conference as recruiting and player development factories coupled with geographical strains and a limited audience, leads to a talent deficit that shadows the Pac-12 competing for national championships. 

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