College sports realignment - Pac 12 implosion

This round first Colorado. Then Arizona. Now ASU and Utah to the Big 12 - who has done just fine after losing Texas and Oklahoma.

The Big 10 was traditionally the Midwest til it went east to Rutgers and UMD. Now after stealing USC and UCLA, it’s grabbed Oregon and Washington. I’d hate it as an athlete - going from Eugene to college park, just for a game ?

How does the Pac 10 commish still have a job ? He botched every step.

Cal, Stanford, Washington State and Oregon State ? What value do they really bring on their own. If they merge with the MWC, does Stanford really want to be associated with schools like Fresno State, Utah State and Boise State from an academic side ?

Rumor is Florida State, UVA and UNC are desired by the SEC. I always thought Syracuse made more sense than Rutgers in the Big 10.

The PAC 10 - conference of Wooden, Walton, Reggie Bush, Lute Olsen - it’s gone.

Just like that.

I’m stunned.


Pac 12 leadership has completely failed. After presenting a subpar TV deal (apple tv) this week that cemented its demise (which was nearly assured after USC and UCLA left), Oregon and Washington were out.

Now it’s seems like it’s only a matter of where the remaining Pac 12 schools go. Stanford could go Big 10, or maybe be independent like ND.

Who knows, but it’s all about the money.

I expect Big10 will organize in 2 or 3 decisions by geography, to minimize travel (which impacts M/W basketball, baseball, and softball to a greater degree than some other sports).

It wouldn’t be a bad thing if those sports also cut back in total games and/or weekday games too, but I doubt that’s on the table, at least for basketball because again, money.

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My hope is that the Big 10/16 will split into two divisions with most games focused on intra-division play, thus avoiding the worst of the travel. As for the remaining four teams of the Pac 12, I’d love to see the basketball teams in the WCC - but since the WCC doesn’t have football it’s unlikely to happen.

I can’t imagine UNC Chapel Hill ever leaving the ACC short of the ACC’s dissolution. I’m sure a lot of conferences would love to have Carolina basketball, though.

I used to say - I could never imagine the ‘Cuse leaving the Big East.

As it turns out, it’s almost always about football - even at hoops schools.

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A neighbor came over yesterday and he like memorized all the current leagues and what will happen next year. I was impressed. So the Big Ten will now be 18 teams next year. I know their not changing their name but still.

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I remember when Oklahoma and Nebraska were huge rivals in the Big 8. And Texas and a much of other Texas schools plus Arkansas were the SWC. Not long ago in fact.


Definitely not all about football at Carolina. Men’s basketball brings in more ticket revenue than football. (Men’s basketball was the primary contributor in delivering $16.4 million in ticket sales. Football’s $12.7 million.) Football is definitely the big money maker across college athletics nationwide, though, especially in conference media deals, which are then shared with the conference member schools. The ACC has a sucky media deal with ESPN, though, that they are locked into until 2036. It is significantly less than the media deals that the SEC and Big 10 have.

You might think that that sucky ESPN media deal would be an impetus for schools to leave the ACC, but UNC and all the other ACC teams are also locked into the ACC’s “Grant of Rights” until 2035. The ACC retains the rights to their media deals even if they leave the conference.

I also just can’t see UNC leaving the ACC unless the ACC collapses. The core of the ACC is and will always be UNC, Duke, NC State and Wake Forest (aka The Big Four).

The UNC student newspaper the Daily Tar Heel has a good analysis of all this – part 1, part 2, part 3.

ETA: this article is in the Raleigh newspaper today: When no news is breaking news: UNC AD feels need to tell staff Tar Heels aren’t leaving ACC

Also this article has a little more on the current thinking around UNC and the ACC:

Ticket sales is barely a rounding error in comparison to TV revenue. The new BiG revenue number of $60m per school is primarily football eyeballs. The stadiums could be empty and they still get $60m. (The networks don’t break out the difference between FB and bball, but most analysts say FB is 80-85% of the total.)

Everyone in the ACC has been asking their attorneys to see if there is anyway to get out of the GOR. Florida State and Clemson would love to join the SEC. (Note, that espn owns the GOR so if espn would rather have FSU or Clemson or Miami in the SEC, espn can easily make that happen.) The BiG has long salivated of adding Carolina & UVa and/or Duke. If schools can double their money today…

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Not following what you mean here? The way I understand it, ESPN has the contract to show the ACC games, but the ACC as a conference owns the media rights for the individual schools. That’s the ACC’s Grant of Rights. So if Clemson and FSU bolted for the SEC (and I could totally see that happening) the ACC would still get the media money even if ESPN is broadcasting Clemson vs FSU as a SEC game. It sounds like it will have to be a court battle to get out of that contract. If they could get ESPN to renegotiate the media contract that might offer some satisfaction to the ACC schools. I’m not sure how that would happen though because there’s not a big incentive for ESPN to want to pay more.

I think there is a separate exit fee to leaving the ACC also, so FSU or Clemson would have to pay the exit fee, then be in court for however long the ACC wants to tie it up or forego the media revenue. I’m not sure how it would work. I’m sure FSU is looking into it, though. At some point paying up might be worth it to them, but I don’t think the ACC will let them just walk away.

yes the individual school’s GOR is to the league office, who in turn assigned them collectively to espn for annual payments thru '35 (as you note above). If espn wants out of the deal (bcos they’d make more money with FSU & Clemson in the SEC, whose broadcast rights espn also owns) AND enough current ACC members want out (bcos they have more lucrative options today), the deal can be unwound. Exit fees can be reduced or possibly eliminated (if the ACC blows up?).

For example, let’s say Miami, FSU and Clemson could join the SEC in '24, they would double their revenue. And if Carolina, Virginia and Duke get invited to the BiG in '24, they too would double their revenue. That’s 6 votes out of 14 to make millions more on Day 1; dunno if ND has a vote.

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I guess we will just see how it plays out. It’s hard to imagine UNC not in the ACC. Sooooo much money though. Kinda crazy.

That’s what caused the downfall of the PAC 12 - the TV contract was awful, no cable companies carried the PAC12 network, games started at 8 pm and ended after midnight (so no one watched).

CU made/makes a lot of its money off ticket sales, parking, merch sales - and gets to keep that money. Last time Nebraska was in town (pre-covid, 2019) that weekend brought $3-4 million to the local revenue, and I can tell you ticket prices are twice as much this year.

So what conferences will play the Rose Bowl now that there is no PAC 12 and there are 45 teams in the Big 10?

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This is all about money and greed. It’s not in the best interest of student athletes, the student bodies, or their fans. Over 100 years of traditions and rivalries are gone in a few short weeks. In the case of the PAC-12, it started with USC and UCLA. I wonder what would have been if the UC regents wouldn’t have approved UCLA’s move last year. It’s sad what has happened to college sports.


Big time NCAA athletics has never been about the best interest of athletes.


You’re right, but the NCAA was originally formed for the benefit of athletes, it just lost its way:

“The Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS), now known as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), was formally established on March 31, 1906 to reform the rules and regulations of college sports. Early football games often resulted in injury and even death, prompting some colleges and universities to close their football programs. The reforms were encouraged by President Roosevelt in 1905, after his son was injured while playing football for Harvard.”

And I think NIL also has contributed to the money grabs the schools are experiencing. They don’t know how long they’ll have Player A or Coach X.

Right now CU is experiencing never before growth (and money) because of Coach Prime. Season tickets are sold out, several individual games are sold out. Parking? Sold out. Merchandise is flying off the shelves and has been since January. When I attended some basketball games, the buzz was always whether Coach Prime was going to show up, and when he did, other celebs (former players, Nuggets, former football players and coaches) showed up too. His son is a QB for the team, and his daughter will be on the basketball team next year so he shows up for women’s basketball too, and the crowds follow him

CU made the jump to the Big 12 in July. It had never been treated well in the PAC12 so even without USC and UCLA leaving CU might have left anyway. I think Wash State and Oregon state will go to the Mountain West and that will leave Stanford and Cal without a conference. Don’t know that I feel that sorry for them. The California schools were bullies in the PAC 12, and they caused the split so now Stanford and Cal have to deal with it.

With 18 teams in the B1G, the schools will play some of the schools only once every 2-3 years in football, and maybe not play every school in basketball. I don’t know how it will work for some of the sports with tighter budgets. Will the Oregon Women’s lax team travel to Rutgers? Will the swim teams set up dual meets on opposite coasts? big gymnastic meets in Lincoln, NE? Football/basketball drives these decisions, but there are a lot of other athletes involved too.

I will say the BTN, which we DO get on our cable companies even though there is no B1G team in this time zone, does a great job. There are games and matches and human interest stories about the players and teams on all the time.

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Hmmm, I think the opposite. A college player can stick around in college and make a little money from NIL now and not have to go pro. Of course the income is not the same as the pro income, but I think it helps them. We see it with UNC Basketball. It’s also more equitable. The star from UNC’s national champ women’s field hockey team has a NIL agreement and does ads for local businesses.

It’s not a going pro issue, it’s an issue of transferring to another school where a given athlete can get significantly more NIL $/opportunity. NIL $ and opportunity is NOT equitable across schools.

Some schools are creating big $ consortiums. And now with less stringent transfer rules, it’s relatively easy for students to start talking with other coaches and for schools to lure students away with the promise of more NIL $ and opportunity than their current school can give them.


What a mess.