The Future of Pac-12 Conference Schools
Explore the possibilities of Pac-12 schools joining new conferences, including the ACC and AAC, and the potential dissolution of the Pac-12.
Four Pac-12 schools - California, Stanford, Oregon State, and Washington State - are still a part of the conference for the upcoming season. However, these schools have options if they are looking to join another conference.
The ACC is actively considering the possibility of adding West Coast schools to their conference. There is a particular focus on California and Stanford, located in the vibrant San Francisco Bay Area. These discussions are in the early stages and not yet public knowledge.
The AAC is also interested in expanding its conference to the West and is considering adding all four Pac-12 teams. While the AAC's current schools are primarily located in the Dallas area, they are open to extending their reach.
With these abrupt departures, there is now speculation that the Pac-12, an institution that has stood since 1916, may face complete dissolution in the near future.
The Mountain West (MWC) has emerged as the primary geographical choice for Pac-12 schools looking to break free from their current conference. According to an insider familiar with the discussions, leaders within the MWC have been actively strategizing the potential addition of Pac-12 schools since last week.
Both the MWC and the American Athletic Conference (AAC) belong to the Group of Five conferences, where the inclusion of Power Five schools would be perceived as a significant upgrade.
While the ACC is also a Power Five conference, it may seem like an unconventional choice for these Pac-12 schools. With its 14 members, none of which are located farther West than Louisville, the ACC presents a challenge in terms of cross-country travel. However, it is worth noting that Stanford and Cal do possess characteristics that align with the likes of Duke, Wake Forest, and Boston College—schools already within the ACC.
The ACC is actively seeking methods to generate more revenue in order to compete with powerhouses such as the Big Ten and Southeastern Conference. Notably, Florida State's leaders have emphasized the necessity for the ACC to take action due to a perceived unfair media rights contract. In this context, adding schools from Northern California, such as Stanford and Cal, could help expand the footprint of the ACC Network and potentially increase its overall value.
At present, it appears that Cal and Stanford do not have any alternative options within the Power Five conferences. With both the Big Ten and Big 12 seemingly finished expanding, the Mountain West emerges as the most sensible destination for these Pac-12 "orphans."