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Pac-12 Commish on Oregon, Washington Realignment Rumors: 'No One's Going Anywhere'

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 20, 2022

Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Despite the departures of UCLA and USC, Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff is far from panicking.

Kliavkoff said he does not feel any pressure to add more teams to the conference and believes the 10 remaining members will be sticking around.

"I don't feel any sense of urgency at this point," Kliavkoff said on the Canzano and Wilner podcast (h/t The Athletic's Stewart Mandel). "No one's going anywhere, we're all together, we're focused on doing this. … We have runway to do it right, as opposed to doing it quickly."

Oregon and Washington have reportedly met with Big Ten officials regarding a potential move, but no deal appears imminent. USC and UCLA announced in July their intention to switch conferences in 2024 as realignment once again puts major college sports in flux.

The announced departure of Texas and Oklahoma for the SEC set off a domino effect as other conferences either attempted to save themselves from extinction (Big 12) or worked to keep pace in the super-conference era (Big Ten).

The Pac-12 appears to be in a middle-ground flux, able to subsist as a 10-team conference but on the precipice of ruin if more schools depart. Oregon is by far the most important remaining member of the conference, thanks to its success in football and men's basketball and the school's long-standing relationship with Nike.

Adding Oregon and Washington would not only add to the Big Ten's cache but also give the conference an opportunity to better divide its divisions in the future. Purdue, Illinois, Northwestern and Iowa could shift over to the East Division without much trouble while the four ex-Pac-12 schools would be the leaders of a new-look West Division. Adding just USC and UCLA creates a potential scenario where one Illinois-based program is in the East and the other is in the West.

Still, Kliavkoff seems confident that the programs will stick around.

"Listen, I think if schools would have left for the Big Ten, they would have left for the Big Ten already," Kliavkoff said on the podcast. "Also, I'm very focused on things that are in my control."

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