Report: Washington Holds ‘Preliminary Discussions’ with Big Ten About Membership
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The University of Washington, currently a member of the Pac-12, has held “preliminary discussions” with the Big Ten about potentially joining the conference, per Brett McMurphy of the 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 Oregon, also of the Pac-12, had begun preliminary discussions in Chicago to join the Big Ten.
The conference has already added USC and UCLA, which are set to join the conference in 2024. McMurphy reported last month that the Big Ten is also targeting Stanford and Cal for expansion.
Adding more teams to the Big Ten conference will allow it to rival the expanding SEC, which is set to add Texas and Oklahoma by 2025.
The Pac-12 is already down to just 10 schools, and the conference is looking to add teams. The conference’s board of directors announced on 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 rivaling the likes of the SEC and Big Ten in the future, especially with the departures of marquee programs.