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

Founded in 1915, the League is spiraling toward collapse amid departures and legal action

Posted on September 12, 2023

  By SuperWest Sports Staff

Friday, August 4, 2023, was a day that will long be remembered in the history of conference realignment.

With the Pac-12 losing five members in a single day, we took a look back at the timeline of the Conference of Champions from its inception to its pending demise.

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

Not only have two more schools left since then, but the remaining two schools have also taken legal action against the Conference and its Commissioner

What follows is an updated bullet-point summary of the major formation, expansion, and realignment events from the start of the Pacific Coast Conference to the recent departure of 10 schools and pending legal action.

• 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.


• 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, along with 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.

• 2023  — Colorado announces its return to the Big 12 on July 27.

— On August 4, Oregon and Washington announce 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 would 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, Washinton 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.

Stay tuned for what figures to be a dramatic denouement…

—More from Staff—