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Report: Oregon, Washington to join Big Ten

The Pacific Northwest powers have bolted the Pac-12 and the conference inches closer to total collapse.

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Washington v Oregon Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images

Update: The Oregon Board of Trustees have unanimously voted to approve the move to the Big Ten.

The University of Oregon Ducks and the University of Washington Huskies will join the Big Ten Conference beginning in 2024, per Brett McMurphy of Action Network. They become the second pair of west coast institutions to depart the Pac-12 for the Midwest-centric league, following USC and UCLA out the door. The move expands the Big Ten’s future membership to 18 schools while the Pac-12’s membership has now dwindled down to seven at the moment.

Oregon and Washington become the second and third teams to depart the Pac-12 in the past two weeks, following the University of Colorado’s decision to return to the Big 12. The Buffaloes’ decision to leave came out of frustration over the league’s drawn out process in securing a new media rights agreement, electing for the option of stability by returning to the Big 12. Just days after the announcement, Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff presented a proposed media rights deal with Apple to league leaders. The annual payout for each school was estimated to be worth in the low $20 million range annually, far below other Power Five leagues.

This news brought further speculation of Oregon and Washington jumping ship and the Big Ten began vetting the two institutions for possible expansion. The Pac-12 leaders had until the end of the week to make a decision about the proposed deal with Apple and that has now been blown up with the departure of their two Pacific Northwest powers.

UO and UW’s departures brings the Pac-12 further to the brink of total collapse. The other “four corner” institutions in Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah were already strongly considering following Colorado to the Big 12 and that now seems like even more of an inevitability. With those institutions potentially leaving as well, that would leave Pac-12 membership with just four schools in Cal, Oregon State, Stanford, and Washington State.