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Updated Conference Timeline: Rise & Fall of the Pac-12

Founded in 1915, the League collapsed and fragmented during the realignment of 2022 and 2023

Posted on May 13, 2024


  By SuperWest Sports Staff

Friday, August 4, 2023, was a day that will long be remembered in the history of conference realignment, with he Pac-12 losing five members in a single day.

But as ground-shaking as that day was, it wasn’t the end of the story. Not by a long shot.

Five more departures followed, prompting the remaining two schools to take legal action against the Conference and its Commissioner to seize control in a saga that continues to unfold.

Here’s a look at the timeline of the Conference of Champions from its inception in 1915 to its painful breakup and the latest in its attempts to reconstitute itself.

This updated bullet-point summary tracks the major events in Pac-12’s formation, expansion, realignment, collapse, and planned rebirth.


1915

The Conference is founded as the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC) at a meeting at the Imperial Hotel in Portland, Oregon. The charter members were California, Washington, Oregon, and Oregon State.

The Imperial Hotel in Portland, Oregon, circa 1915 | Courtesy CatsPawPhotoShop

1916

The PCC begins play and the Conference begins hosting the annual Rose Bowl.


1917

Washington State joins the league.


1918

Stanford is added.

1922

The PCC expands to eight teams with the admission of USC and Idaho.


1924

Montana joins the Conference.

Atherton
1928

The PCC grows to 10 members with the addition of UCLA.


1938

The Conference hires former FBI agent Edwin Atherton as its Commissioner.


1947

The champion of the Big Ten becomes the designated Rose Bowl opponent for the Pac-12 Champion.


1950

Montana departs to join the Mountain States Conference.


1958

California, USC, UCLA, and Washington become embroiled in “pay-for-play” scandals.


1959

The 1958 scandals lead PCC to disband; California, USC, UCLA, and Washington form a new conference called the Athletic Association of Western Universities (AAWU) with athletics administrator Tomas J. Hamilton as its commissioner. Stanford is added a month later.


1962

Washington State joins the Conference, which informally becomes known as the Big Six.


1964

Oregon and Oregon State are added and the conference is known unofficially as the Pacific Athletic Conference, though still officially the AAWU.


1968

The Conference formally renames itself the Pacific-8 Conference, or Pac-8 for short.


1975

Pac-8, now based in Walnut Creek, Calif.,  allows a second bowl team from the Conference


1978

The Conference adds Arizona and Arizona State from the Western Athletic Conference, becoming the Pacific-10 Conference or Pac-10.


1983

The Pac-10 hires long-time conference executive Thomas C. Hansen as Commissioner.


2002

The Conference’s exclusive arrangement with the Rose Bowl ends when the bowl hosts the national championship game in the Bowl Championship Series  (BCS).

Larry Scott after being hired as Pac-10 Commissioner | The Spokesman-Review

2009

Tom Hansen retires as the longest-tenured Division-I conference commissioner in the country, and the Pac-10 hires Larry Scott, the former head of the Women’s Tennis Association, to replace him.


2010

Pac-10 considers adding up to six teams to the Conference from among Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Colorado. The Buffaloes and Utah are extended invitations and both agree to join.


2011

The Conference is renamed the Pac-12, and former Big 12 school Colorado and former WAC school Utah begin play. To accommodate them, the Conference is divided into South and North divisions.


2012

The Conference debuts the Pac-12 Network, only the third dedicated network in the nation, and the first to completely fund and own its own network outright.


2014

The Pac-12 relocates from Walnut Creek to San Francisco.

The Pac-12’s San Francisco offices | Pac-12 Conference

2021

Larry Scott’s tenure as commissioner ends. George Kliavkoff, the former president of entertainment and sports for MGM Resorts International is hired to take his place. Soon after, the Pac-12, ACC, and Big Ten announced the formation of a nonbinding “historic alliance.”


2022

— USC and UCLA announce their departure from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten Conference beginning with the 2024–25 academic year.

— Reports began circulating that Commissioner Kliavkoff had visited San Diego State University and SMU campuses for tours. This was allegedly part of the conference’s vetting process for expansion.

— San Diego State sent the Mountain West Conference a letter notifying them of their impending departure. The Pac-12, however, was adamant about securing a media rights deal before expanding.

— Without an incoming offer before a June 30, 2023 deadline, San Diego State had to rescind its intention to leave the Mountain West.


2023

— Colorado announces its return to the Big 12 on July 27.

— On August 4, Oregon and Washington announce that they will be following UCLA and USC to the Big Ten conference for the 2024 season.

—  Later that day, Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah announce they will be leaving for the Big 12 Conference starting in 2024.

— On September 1, the ACC presidents and chancellors vote to add Stanford and Cal (along with SMU) beginning in 2024.

Whitman County Courthouse | Don & Melinda Crawford via Getty Images

— On September 11th, Washington State and Oregon State take the Pac-12 and Commissioner George Kliavkoff to court in Whitman County, Washington, obtaining a temporary restraining order blocking the Conference’s 10 departing schools from holding a meeting and a potential vote of their presidents.

— On November 14, Judge Gary Libey of the Whitman County, Washington Superior Court rules in favor of the two schools. The University of Washington (UW) files an emergency motion to keep the two schools from gaining full control of the conference for the 2023-24 academic year

— A Washington Supreme Court commissioner grants UW’s motion on November 28.

— The motion is overturned on December 15 by the Washington State Supreme Court, giving Oregon State and Washington State sole control of the Pac-12. The decision prevents the departing schools from voting on conference matters.

— On December 5, 2023, Oregon State and Washington State announce that they have entered into a football alliance with the Mountain West Conference for the 2024 season to play three home games and three away games against MWC opponents.

— The West Coast Conference (WCC) invites both teams as affiliate members for basketball and most other non-football sports. Both partnerships are expected to last from the fall of 2024 to the spring of 2026.

— The remaining two conference member announce plans to continue using the Pac-12 name and branding for at least the 2024–25 academic year.


2024

— On February 19, the Pac-12 Board of Directors announces Teresa Gould as the first woman commissioner of a then-Power Conference to replace Kliavkoff, effective March 1.

— Soon after, Kliavkoff unfollows nearly everyone associated with his time as Pac-12 Commissioner and changes his X/Twitter bio to read “Fishing…”

George Kliavkoff X/Twitter Bio
The X/Twitter bio of George Kliavkoff as accessed on May 12, 2024 | X/Twitter

— In early May, Washington State and Oregon State universities reportedly sign football TV deals with The CW and Fox.

—To Be Continued—




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