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Report: Washington Holds 'Preliminary Discussions' with Big Ten About Membership

Erin WalshSeptember 1, 2022

Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Pac-12 member Washington has held "preliminary discussions" with the Big Ten about joining the conference, per Brett McMurphy of Action Network.

"These meetings did not involve university presidents or Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren, sources said," McMurphy wrote. "The meetings were conducted with lawyers and consultants representing the schools and the Big Ten to determine the school's compatibility with the league, sources said."

McMurphy reported last week that fellow Pac-12 school Oregon had begun preliminary discussions in Chicago to join the Big Ten.

The conference has added USC and UCLA from the Pac-12, and they're set to join the Big Ten in 2024. McMurphy reported last month that the Big Ten is also targeting Pac-12 schools Stanford and Cal for expansion.

Adding more teams to the Big Ten will allow it to rival the expanding SEC, which is set to add Texas and Oklahoma by 2025.

The Pac-12 is down to 10 schools, and the conference is looking to add teams. The conference's board of directors announced July 1 that it had authorized a search for expansion schools.

In addition, the ACC proposed a "loose partnership" with the Pac-12 "to increase the value of their current media rights contracts," Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports reported in July. The partnership could include a season-ending championship game between the two conferences in Las Vegas.

"Sources indicate the proposal is viewed as a 'strength in numbers' move," Dodd wrote. "While the 24 combined ACC and Pac-12 teams wouldn't have nearly the clout of the 32 programs combined in the SEC and Big Ten, it would be something to combat the growing financial gap between those burgeoning superconferences and everyone else."

That said, it's hard to imagine the Big 12, ACC or Pac-12 rivals the SEC and Big Ten in the future, especially with the departures of marquee programs.

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