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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Stalemate in Conference Realignment Amid Opposing Visions

  • Oregon State wants to keep the Pac-12 together and rebuild the conference.
  • Cal and Stanford don't appear as keen on sticking together amid more realignment.
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Conference realignment in college sports is at an impasse, as schools with the most at stake have very different visions for the future.

Oregon State appears intent on keeping the remaining four Pac-12 schools together. Rebuilding the conference is something the Beavers’ athletic director Scott Barnes says he wants to start happening within “days.”

But key to that scenario is commitments from California and Stanford — both of which could have potentially already bolted for the ACC if not for opposition from the conference’s top schools.

A Stanford move has even reportedly gotten backing from former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, a longtime university professor and key supporter. Rice has reached out to the ACC to vie for Stanford’s entry, according to Yahoo Sports. And former President George W. Bush has done the same for Southern Methodist University, where his wife went to school.

Records and Reactions

The shifting college landscape is having impacts beyond conference makeup, too. 

Colorado received a record $28 million in athletics donations in its most recent fiscal year. The school is entering its first season with Deion Sanders as its head football coach and will return to the Big 12 next year.

Meanwhile, Wichita State athletic director Kevin Saal is keen on being proactive. The American Athletic Conference could take on former Pac-12 schools, if interested, or see its own schools — like SMU — targeted as realignment continues. “Nobody wants to be reactive in these situations,” Saal said.

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