Add that to UCLA and USC announcing last summer they are moving to the Big Ten. Last week, Colorado announced its moving to the Big 12. The Big 12 is now repertedly targeting Utah, Arizona and Arizona State.
Where does that leave the two Bay Area Pac-12 schools: California and Stanford?
The conference is in jeopardy of being left with four members: Stanford, Cal, Oregon State and Washington State. After Oregon and Washington’s announced plans to move, Stanford and Cal issued the following statements on Friday.
Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Director of Athletics Bernard Muir issued a statement below.
We are aware of the University of Oregon and the University of Washington’s intended departure from the Pac-12 Conference. Our primary focus at this time is analyzing the available options and making the best decisions for Stanford and our student-athletes. We remain optimistic about Stanford’s athletics future and remain committed to pursuing excellence in college athletics.
UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ and Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton issued the statement below.
“We are aware that two more of our Pac-12 peer institutions have decided to leave the conference one year from now, and there are reports that additional universities may be considering similar steps. We are not watching and waiting from the sidelines. Together, the Chancellor and Athletic Director are evaluating a variety of options that will ensure our student-athletes can continue to thrive, and that our intercollegiate athletics program can continue to excel in a manner consistent with our institutional values. We are grateful for the continued support of the campus community and the extended Cal Family, and will remain committed to sharing as much information as we can in the day ahead.”
The Pac-12 media rights deal — or lack thereof — may have contributed to the member schools’ decision to exit. The Big 12 agreed last fall to a six-year extension on its media rights deal with ESPN and Fox that will pay each school about $32 million per year.
The Pac-12 has not secured a TV deal that will pay its member schools eight figures per year. With its biggest names (ie. USC, UCLA and Oregon) leaving the conference, the Pac-12 likely was not going to get the same amount of money from whatever media rights deal had those schools stayed.
Washington State also released a statement about the recent departure from Pac-12 schools.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.