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Big Ten Reportedly 'No Longer as Interested' in Adding Oregon, More Pac-12 Schools

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIAugust 3, 2022

Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Big Ten was reportedly "evaluating the worthiness" of adding a quartet of Pac-12 teams (Oregon, Cal, Stanford and Washington) into the conference, but Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports reported that interest has since cooled down:

"After the anxiety caused last week regarding further Big Ten expansion, industry sources have indicated the Big Ten is no longer as interested in adding California, Oregon, Stanford and Washington. Rightsholders were balking at paying the same amount for those schools as the 16 Big Ten schools going forward ($80 million-$100 million).

"While those four programs may eventually have options, the Big Ten is concentrating on its new deal in 2023 while trying to lure Notre Dame, which has an open invitation. More and more stakeholders now believe the Fighting Irish will ultimately stay independent."

The Big Ten currently has 14 institutions, but the conference is adding USC and UCLA into the fold in 2024.

The Big Ten finds itself in a position of great power by adding two powerhouse college sports programs in California, expanding the conference's footprint to the West Coast. The league doesn't necessarily have to expand any further after picking up USC and UCLA, although the Notre Dame rumors still persist.

The Big Ten and SEC, which will also have 16 teams after Oklahoma and Texas join the mix in 2025, ultimately will stand as a pair of superconferences in a few years time.

The biggest question is what will become of the Pac 12 without two of its most recognizable programs. The conference has already revealed that it's looking into expansion, although that news comes as other conference schools are connected to other leagues.

Dodd notably reported that Oregon alum and Nike founder Phil Knight was calling other leagues on his alma mater's behalf.

There was talk of the Big 12 and Pac 12 joining forces, but the former reportedly walked away from the table on that front, per ESPN's Pete Thamel.

As it stands now, the Pac 12 will have 10 teams in a couple years' time unless the conference realignment carousel continues to move. The Big 12 already successfully added four schools (Houston, UCF, Cincinnati and BYU), and it remains to be seen if the Pac 12 can engineer a similar expansion as well.

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