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Report: Oregon initiates “preliminary contact” with Big Ten

Oregon, Big Ten in early talks to determine compatibility following USC, UCLA departure

Oregon set during the Pac-12 Football Media Day on July 29, 2022, at Novo Theater in Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The University of Oregon has reportedly reached out to the Big Ten to determine whether they would be a good fit to join the heavily Midwestern conference. Following USC and UCLA’s departures from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten, several west coast schools have been rumored to be interested in following them, and this is the first official confirmation that the Ducks would be interested in leaving the Pac-12 sooner than later.

Per Action Network’s Brett McMurphy, Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren was not involved in the discussions, nor was Oregon Ducks athletic director Rob Mullens, which indicates that the discussions are still in very early stages. The deep pockets of UO alum and Nike CEO Phil Knight probably put the Ducks in a better position than most schools with their geographic footprint.

The Big Ten recently inked a 7-year, $7 billion media rights agreement for that looks very appealing to the outsiders looking in as participating schools are expecting to bring in between $80 and $100 million per year under this new deal. The media agreement reportedly has a specific clause for the possibility of Notre Dame joining the conference, but does not mention any other school by name.

Beginning in 2024, the Big Ten will comprise of 16 different schools, and they’ve been open about fielding interest from other non-participating schools who want to join.