Can Pac-12 Replace USC And UCLA And Turn The Conference Financials Around?
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The news on Thursday that both University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and University of Southern California (USC
SC
) were both bailing from the Pac-12 Conference in 2024 to join the Big Ten Conference was a big blow, bringing the Pac-12 down to just ten teams.

For their fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, members of the Big 10 Conference received roughly $20 million more than Pac-12 Conference schools, $54 million for Big 10 schools versus $33-$34 million for the Pac-12 schools.

For their fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, Pac-12 reported that revenue plummeted by 36% to $344 million, largely due to games put off due to COVID-19. The payout to schools was just under $20 million each. And although Big Ten has not released its form 990 for their fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, USA Today obtained a copy of it and reported that their revenue dropped far less than Pac-12, slipping just 11%. Payouts to schools ranged from $43 to $49 million versus $54 million in the prior year (for long standing members).

The question now is how does Pac-12 get its mojo back. Clearly this will require it to start adding, rather than losing teams, from the Conference.

Pac-12 issued the following statement on July 1:

The Pac-12 Board of Directors met this morning and authorized the Conference to explore all expansion options. The 10 university presidents and chancellors remain committed to a shared mission of academic and athletic excellence on behalf of our student-athletes.

This followed their June 30 statement:

While we are extremely surprised and disappointed by the news coming out of UCLA and USC today, we have a long and storied history in athletics, academics, and leadership in supporting student-athletes that we’re confident will continue to thrive and grow into the future. The Pac-12 is home to many of the world’s best universities, athletic programs and alumni, representing one of the most dynamic regions in the United States. We’ve long been known as the Conference of Champions, and we’re unwavering in our commitment to extend that title. We will continue to develop new and innovative programs that directly benefit our member institutions, and we look forward to partnering with current and potential members to pioneer the future of college athletics together.

Athlon Sports reporter Steven Lassan speculated that Oklahoma State would be the first team to be added to the Pac-12, with other possibilities being:

Baylor

Boise State

BYU

Houston

Iowa State

Kansas

Kansas State

San Diego State

TCU

Texas Tech

However, they are going to have to move fast. If more teams start bailing from Pac-12 their brand name will become tarnished, making it increasingly difficult to attract new universities as partners.

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