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The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

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The Pac-12’s demise did not happen in a day: A Timeline

An in-depth look at how the Pac-12 Conference got to where it is now

The Pac-12 could have expanded to Texas and ushered in the age of the super conference nearly a decade ago. Instead, a series of poor decisions and miscalculations have led the Pac-12 to the brink of extinction.
At the center of the news of the Pac-12 Conference’s demise is WSU President Kirk Schulz.
Schulz serves as the chair of the presidents of the Pac-12 and until early August, was privy to what he described in a statement as the final stages of a media rights negotiation with Apple to stream Pac-12 content on Apple TV, a streaming platform that within recent years has broadcasted the majority of Major Leauge Soccer games along with select NFL and MLB games.
“We finished our board meeting on Thursday evening with a strong feeling of staying together, pursuing a new partnership with Apple, and moving forward with conference expansion,” Schulz wrote in a statement.
The abrupt departure of Oregon and Washington to the Big Ten came as a surprise to Schulz as chair of the board of presidents and chancellors tasked with ensuring a bright future for the Conference.
With two founding members Oregon and Washington on their way out, Arizona, Arizona State and Utah exercised their Big 12 Conference escape pods leaving just four schools– Stanford, California-Berkley, Oregon State and WSU – in the Conference.
The demise of the Pac-12 did not begin with the mass exodus of Friday, Aug. 4, 2023 or with the LA schools, USC and UCLA electing to leave in 2022.
Rather, the Pac-12’s path to rock bottom of the college athletic conference food chain was forged through a slew of poor business decisions, ill-advised public remarks and an unwillingness to match the ambition and aggressive tactics used by the industry leaders and competitors (namely the SEC, Big Ten and Big 12)
It’s also a coffin ultimately nailed by Wazzu’s dreaded regional rivals Oregon and Washington, adding a particularly sour flavor to this year’s Apple Cup.

Billion dollar beginnings

  • Larry Scott is hired as Pac-10 commissioner. He oversaw all media deals. (March 24, 2009)
  • Pac-10 inks 12-year $3 billion broadcast deal with Fox and ESPN (May 4, 2011)
  • Four other major conferences signed at least one media deal within a 12-year span of broadcast agreement, keeping Pac behind the eight-ball

Pac-12 fails to expand into Texas

  • PAC could have expanded by adding Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech, but Scott chose not to as Texas demanded a greater share of the media rights revenue than the other schools.
  • Pac-12 welcomes Colorado from Big 12, Utah from Mountain West (July 1, 2011)

Pac-12 puts all the eggs in one network-sized basket

  • PAC-12 Network debuts (August 15, 2012)

Pac-12 falls behind

  • The Pac-12 turns 100 and is beaten out in annual media rights revenue by SEC and Big Ten (2015)
  • Pac-12 continues to lag behind other conferences in media rights revenue, and football competitiveness (Pac-12’s most recent College Football Playoff appearance was Washington in 2016)
  • Larry Scott is forced out by Pac-12 presidents. (January, 2021)
  • “The Pac-12 schools have got to be competitive,” said Schultz. “We’re falling behind.”

See you LAter

  • Oklahoma, Texas leave Big 12, join SEC (July 21, 2021, effective August, 2024)
  • USC, UCLA leave Pac-12, join Big Ten (June 30, 2022, effective August, 2024)
  • Big 12 secures close to $32 million per year per school before Pac-12 can even begin negotiations

Rocky Mountain bye!

  • Colorado bound for Big 12: (July 27, 2023, effective 2024)

Rotten apple

  • Kilavkoff presents Apple media deal to remaining members. The deal presented schools a minimum payout of $20 million per year with opportunities for a large payout if certain subscriber benchmarks were met. Nine remaining schools head presentation, agreed to sign grant of rights the next morning (Aug. 2, 2023)
  • Oregon and Washington bailed the morning the nine remaining schools were set to sign a new grant of rights deal to Apple (Aug. 4, 2023).
  • Arizona, Arizona St. Utah join Big 12 (Aug. 4 2023)
  • “I know many of you are angry and upset by the situation WSU finds itself in — and it is tempting to lash out,” Schulz said in a statement. “ I ask for your support over the coming days, weeks, and months as we work diligently to find the right home for Cougar Athletics.

Four schools remain.

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About the Contributor
SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen managing editor
Sam is the managing editor for summer and fall 2023. He is a senior multimedia journalism major from Lacey, Wash. He plays the trumpet in the Cougar Marching Band, loves the Mariners and has worked at the Evergreen since fall 2021.