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On Friday, Dec. 1, the Pacific-12 (PAC-12) conference held its last ever football game before the conference disbands at the end of the academic year. The schools in the conference will join either the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Southeastern Conference (SEC), the Big 12 or the Big Ten. 

The main reason for the collapse of the conference that has been around for over a century is TV rights. The conference has been struggling in recent years. They have only won national championships in lower-viewed Olympic sports like Swimming and Diving, Water Polo, Rowing, Men’s Gymnastics, Skiing and Beach Volleyball. They were not winning in football, which is one of the most viewed college sports.

When the PAC-12 named its new commissioner, George Kliavkoff, there was hope that he would be able to solve the problem left behind. However, a wrench was thrown into the plan when three weeks after Kliavkoff was hired, the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma announced they were leaving the Big 12 for the SEC. Down two schools, the rest of the Big 12 asked the PAC-12 to merge, causing the PAC-12 to consist of 20 teams and reducing the number of power conferences from five to four. 

A subcommittee of three presidents and three athletic directors from PAC-12 schools was formed to discuss the merger of the two. University of Southern California president Carol Folt was against the merger and was even surprised it was brought up. In June 2022, the PAC-12 was unprepared when USC and UCLA announced they would leave the “Conference of Champions” for the Big​​ Ten. At the start of the 2024 collegiate football season, the Big Ten will comprise 17 schools across all time zones. 

The fall of the conference hurts the teams that don’t have TV revenue or ticket sales the most. Those teams are now forced to fly across the country–more than likely on a commercial flight– for a game or practice and then, not even 24 hours later, fly back to the west coast. Traveling not only takes a lot out of athletes mentally, but they also miss more classes and have to deal with jet lag. It is sad to see a conference with so much history and memories fall right before our eyes. It also is sad to see the PAC-12 fall after its most successful football seasons in recent history. 


By: Colette Kearney