The Pac-12 Conference is a collegiate athletic conference that operates in the Western United States, participating in 24 sports at the NCAA Division I level. Its football teams compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS; formerly Division I-A), the higher of two tiers of NCAA Division I football competition.
(as Pacific Coast Conference)
|Former names||Pacific Coast Conference|
Athletic Association of Western Universities (AAWU, 1959–68)
|Headquarters||San Francisco, California|
|Commissioner||Larry Scott (since 2009)|
The conference's 12 members are located in the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. They include each state's flagship public university, four additional public universities, and two private research universities.
The modern Pac-12 conference formed after the disbanding of the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC), whose principal members founded the Athletic Association of Western Universities (AAWU) in 1959. The conference previously went by the names Big Five, Big Six, Pacific-8, and Pacific-10. The Pac-12 moniker was adopted in 2011 with the addition of Colorado and Utah.
Nicknamed the "Conference of Champions", the Pac-12 has won more NCAA national championships in team sports than any other conference in history. The top three schools with the most NCAA team championships are members of the Pac-12: Stanford, UCLA, and USC, in that order. Washington's national title in women's rowing in 2017 was the 500th NCAA championship won by a Pac-12 school.
The current commissioner of the conference is Larry Scott. Scott replaced Thomas C. Hansen, who retired in July 2009 after 26 years in that position. Prior to joining the Pac-10, Scott was Chairman and CEO of the Women's Tennis Association.
The Pac-12 has twelve full member institutions. Football is the only sport where the conference is split into two divisions, the North Division and the South Division.
† Total University of Colorado System Endowment
The Pac-12 has three affiliate member institutions in California and one in Arkansas.
|Institution||Location||Founded||Joined||Type||Enrollment||Team Name||Colors||Primary Conference||Pac-12 sports|
|California Polytechnic State University||San Luis Obispo, California||1901||1986–87||Public||19,777||Mustangs||Big West||Wrestling|
|California State University, Bakersfield||Bakersfield, California||1965||1987–88||8,002||Roadrunners||WAC|
|University of Arkansas at Little Rock||Little Rock, Arkansas||1927||2019-20||11,845||Trojans||Sun Belt|
|San Diego State University||San Diego, California||1897||2005–06||34,500||Aztecs||Mountain West||Men's soccer|
Cal State Bakersfield initially announced it would become a men's soccer affiliate starting in 2013, but never went through with those plans, accepting an invitation to become an all-sports member of the Western Athletic Conference, which sponsors men's soccer, also in 2013. The school will maintain its Pac-12 affiliation in wrestling, which the WAC does not sponsor.
No school has left the Pac-12 since its founding as the AAWU in 1959. Two members of the PCC were not invited to join the AAWU or its successors.
|University of Idaho||Moscow, Idaho||1889||1922||1959||Public||Vandals||Big Sky|
|University of Montana||Missoula, Montana||1893||1924||1950||Grizzlies|
Former affiliate members
Nine of the twelve member schools are members of the Association of American Universities (AAU) as of 2019, including all four California-based schools. The only FBS conference with more AAU members is the Big Ten with 13 out of 14 member institutions having AAU membership.
- University of Arizona
- University of California, Berkeley
- University of California, Los Angeles
- University of Colorado Boulder
- University of Oregon
- University of Southern California
- Stanford University
- University of Washington
- University of Utah
Additionally, these member schools are also highly ranked nationally and globally by various groups, including the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) and Times Higher Education World University Rankings (Times).
Athletic department revenue by school
Total revenue includes ticket sales, contributions and donations, rights and licensing, student fees, school funds and all other sources including TV income, camp income, concessions, and novelties. Total expenses includes coach and staff salaries, scholarships, buildings and grounds, maintenance, utilities and rental fees, recruiting, team travel, equipment and uniforms, conference dues, and insurance.
The following table is updated to show institutional reporting to the Department of Education as shown on the DOE Equity in Athletics website for the 2013–14 academic year. The national ranking of revenue is based on 2075 institutions reporting to the Department of Education that year.
|2||13||University of Southern California||$106,528,649||$106,528,649|
|3||19||University of Washington||$100,275,186||$86,097,136|
|4||22||University of Arizona||$97,630,769||$93,273,995|
|5||27||University of California, Berkeley||$90,262,140||$76,446,272|
|6||33||University of California, Los Angeles||$86,426,780||$86,426,780|
|7||35||University of Oregon||$81,546,443||$79,961,755|
|8||45||Arizona State University||$72,775,808||$72,599,644|
|9||55||Oregon State University||$67,033,751||$67,033,751|
|10||60||University of Colorado||$64,303,098||$64,303,098|
|11||62||Washington State University||$60,727,273||$60,727,273|
|12||65||University of Utah||$59,005,590||$57,819,434|
Pacific Coast Conference
The roots of the Pac-12 Conference go back to December 2, 1915, when the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC) was founded at a meeting at the Imperial Hotel in Portland, Oregon. Charter members were the University of California (now University of California, Berkeley), University of Washington, University of Oregon, and Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State University). The PCC began play in 1916.
One year later, Washington State College (now Washington State University) joined the league, followed by Stanford University in 1918.
For many years, the conference split into two divisions for basketball and baseball – a Southern Division comprising the four California schools and a Northern Division comprising the six schools in the Pacific Northwest.
AAWU (Big Five and Big Six)
Following "pay-for-play" scandals at California, USC, UCLA, and Washington, the PCC disbanded in June 1959. Ten months earlier in August 1958, these four schools agreed to form a new conference that would take effect the following summer. When the four schools and Stanford began discussions for a new conference in 1959, retired Admiral Thomas J. Hamilton interceded and suggested the schools consider creating a national "power conference" (Hamilton had been a key player, head coach, and athletic director at Navy, and was the current athletic director at Pittsburgh). Nicknamed the "Airplane Conference," the five former PCC schools would have played with other major academically-oriented schools, including Army, Navy, Air Force, Notre Dame, Pitt, Penn State, and Syracuse. The effort fell through when a Pentagon official vetoed the idea and the service academies backed out.
On July 1, 1959, the new Athletic Association of Western Universities was launched, with California, UCLA, USC, and Washington as the four charter members. Stanford joined during the first month. Hamilton left Pittsburgh to become the first commissioner of the AAWU, and remained for twelve years. The conference also was popularly known as the Big Five from 1960 to 1962. When Washington State joined in 1962, the conference became informally known as the Big Six.
Oregon and Oregon State joined in the summer of 1964. With their addition, the conference was known unofficially as the Pacific Athletic Conference, and then the Pacific-8 (as there already was a major conference called the Big Eight). In 1968, the AAWU formally renamed itself the Pacific-8 Conference, or Pac-8 for short. The Pac-8 did not allow a second bowl team from the conference until the 1975 season; in basketball, participation in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) was not allowed until 1973.
In 1978, the conference added Arizona and Arizona State from the Western Athletic Conference, becoming the Pacific-10 Conference or Pac-10. The invitations to the schools were extended in December 1976, and the expansion formally announced in May 1977.
In 1986, the Pac-10 began sponsoring women's athletics. Prior to this time members' women's teams competed with other large universities on the Pacific coast in either the Northern Pacific Conference or the Western Collegiate Athletic Association.
In the mid-1990s the conference expressed interest in admitting the University of Colorado and the University of Texas after the collapse of the Southwest Conference. Texas expressed an interest in joining a strong academic conference, but joined three fellow Southwest Conference schools (Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Baylor) to merge with the Big Eight Conference to form the Big 12 Conference in 1996. Colorado elected to remain in the newly formed Big 12.
Before the addition of Colorado and Utah in 2011, only the Ivy League had maintained its membership for a longer time than the Pac-10 among Division I conferences. Commissioner Larry Scott said on February 9, 2010, that the window for expansion was open for the next year as the conference began negotiations for a new television deal. Speaking on a conference call to introduce former Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg as his new deputy, Scott talked about possibly adding new teams to the conference and launching a new television network. Scott, the former head of the Women's Tennis Association, took over the conference in July 2009. In his first eight months on the job, he saw growing interest from the membership over the possibility of adding teams for the first time since Arizona and Arizona State joined the conference in 1978.
In early June 2010, there were reports that the Pac-10 was considering adding up to six teams to the conference: the University of Texas, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University, the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, and the University of Colorado.
On June 10, 2010, the University of Colorado Boulder officially accepted an invitation to join the Pac-10 Conference, effective starting with the 2012–2013 academic year. The school later announced it would join the conference a year earlier than previously announced, in the 2011–2012 academic year.
On June 15, 2010, a deal was reached between Texas and the Big 12 Conference to keep Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State in the Big 12. Following Texas' decision, the other Big 12 schools that had been rumored candidates to join the Pac-10 announced they would remain in the Big 12. This deal effectively ended the Pac-10's ambition to potentially become a sixteen-team conference.
On June 17, 2010, the University of Utah officially accepted an invitation to join the Pac-10 Conference, effective starting July 2011. Utah was a member of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) with Arizona and Arizona State before those two left for the Pac-10 in 1978. The Utes left an expanded WAC with seven other schools in 1999 to form the new Mountain West Conference. Utah became the first "BCS Buster" to join a BCS conference, having played in (and won) two BCS games beforehand.
On July 27, 2010, the conference unveiled a new logo and announced that the Pac-10 would be renamed the Pac-12 when Utah and Colorado formally joined in July 2011. On October 21, the Pac-12 announced that its football competition would be split into two divisions—a North Division comprising the Pacific Northwest and Bay Area schools, and a South Division comprising the Mountain Time Zone and Southern California schools. On July 1, 2011, the Pac-12 assumed its current alignment when both Colorado and Utah officially joined as full members.
On August 15, 2012, the conference debuted the Pac-12 Network. It was the third college sports conference to launch a dedicated network, and the first to completely fund and own their own network outright.
The Pac-12 claims the PCC's history as its own. It inherited the PCC's berth in the Rose Bowl, and the eight largest schools in the old PCC all eventually joined the new league.
The Pac-12 is one of the founding members of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF), a conference organized to provide competition in non-revenue Olympic sports. All-Pac-12 members participate in at least one MPSF sport (men's and women's indoor track and field both actually have enough participating Pac-12 schools for the conference to sponsor a championship, but the Pac-12 has opted not to do so). For certain sports, the Pac-12 admits certain schools as associate members.
The Pac-12 Conference sponsors championship competition in 10 men's and 13 women's NCAA-sanctioned sports, plus one men's sport that is not sanctioned by the NCAA. Four schools are associate members, each in a single men's sport.
The newest sport to be sponsored by the Pac-12 is women's lacrosse, which began play in spring 2018 following the elevation of Arizona State's club team to full varsity status.
|Beach volleyball ^||–||9|
|Swimming & Diving||8||9|
|Track & Field Outdoor||10||12|
- ^ — Beach volleyball is a fully sanctioned NCAA sport which held its first national championship in the spring of 2016. The Pac-12 is the second conference (after the Atlantic Sun Conference) to sponsor a championship in the sport.
- † — Rowing (M) is sanctioned by the Intercollegiate Rowing Association, not by the NCAA; Rowing (W) is sanctioned by both.
Men's sponsored sports by school
Member-by-member sponsorship of the 11 men's Pac-12 sports.
Men's sports that are not sponsored by the Pac-12 but are fielded as a varsity sport at Pac-12 schools
|Lacrosse||Rugby||Sailing||Skiing||Track & Field|
|Totals||1||2||1||1||1 + 5||1||2||10||3||4||25+5|
- Not an NCAA-sanctioned sport.
- Club status team competing against varsity teams.
- 4 full varsity teams and 2 club status teams.
- Affiliate: San Diego State
- Affiliates: Cal Poly, Cal State Bakersfield, Little Rock
- Affiliate members with full varsity status.
- Club teams.
Women's sponsored sports by school
Member-by-member sponsorship of the 13 women's Pac-12 sports.
Women's sports that are not sponsored by the Pac-12 but are fielded as a varsity sport at Pac-12 schools
- Not an NCAA sanctioned sport.
- Recommended for inclusion in the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women program in 2020–21.
NCAA national titles
† Co-ed sports include fencing (since 1990), rifle, and skiing (since 1983). Team fencing championships before 1990 and team skiing championships before 1983 were awarded as men's or women's championships and are counted here as such.
These totals do not include football national championships, which the NCAA does not officially award at the FBS level. Various polls, formulas, and other third-party systems have been used to determine national championships, not all of which are universally accepted. These totals also do not include championships prior to the inception of the NCAA.
Each of the ten schools that were conference members before 2011 has its own in-state, conference rivalry. One is an intracity rivalry (UCLA-USC), and another is within the same metropolitan area (California-Stanford). Colorado and Utah, who joined in 2011, were historic rivals in the Rocky Mountain region prior to 1962 when they suspended the series. These rivalries (and the name given to the football forms) are:
- Oregon–Oregon State (The Civil War; the Platypus Trophy, not officially recognized by the Universities, is awarded to the winning alumni association).
- California–Stanford (Big Game; winner gets the Stanford Axe).
- Arizona–Arizona State (The Duel in the Desert; winner gets the Territorial Cup).
- Colorado–Utah (Rumble in the Rockies).
- Washington–Washington State (the Apple Cup; since 1962 the winner receives the Apple Cup trophy).
- UCLA–USC (The winner of the annual game gets the Victory Bell; referred among the students as the Gauntlet or the Crosstown Gauntlet, it has now been rebranded as the SoCal BMW Crosstown Cup and is awarded to the athletic department with the most victories).
The most frequently played rivalries in the conference are the Civil War between Oregon and Oregon State (120 meetings through 2016) and Big Game between Stanford and California (119 meetings). These rivalries are among the most played rivalries in college football.
The two newest members, Colorado and Utah, had a football rivalry that had been dormant since 1962 – both were conference rivals previously in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (now a Division II conference), and later the now-defunct Mountain States Conference (also known as the Skyline Conference). Even after Colorado joined what became the Big 12 in 1948 (the conference was then known popularly as the Big 7 Conference), the two schools continued their football rivalry for over a decade before ending it after the 1962 season. With the two schools being placed in the same division for football starting in 2011, the rivalry was revived with their 58th meeting during the 2011 season.
All of the California schools consider each other major rivals, due to the culture clash between Northern and Southern California. California and UCLA have a rivalry rooted in their shared history as the top programs within the University of California system. Stanford and USC have a rivalry rooted in their shared history as the only private schools in the Pac-12. California and USC also have a long history, having played each other every year in football since 1916.
Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, and Washington State all consider each other major rivals due to their proximity and long history. The Oregon–Washington rivalry is sometimes referred to as the Border War.
Arizona and New Mexico have a recently renewed rivalry game, based upon when they were both members of the WAC and both states were longtime territories before being admitted as states in 1912. They played for the Kit Carson Rifle trophy, which was no longer used starting with their meeting in the 1997 Insight Bowl.
USC and Notre Dame have an intersectional rivalry (See Notre Dame–USC rivalry). The games in odd-numbered years are played in South Bend in mid-October, while the games in even-numbered years are played in Los Angeles, usually in late November.
Stanford and Notre Dame also have an intersectional rivalry (See Notre Dame–Stanford football rivalry). The schedule of the Stanford–Notre Dame rivalry mirrors that of USC–Notre Dame. The games in even-numbered years are played at Notre Dame in mid-October, while the games in odd-numbered years are played at Stanford in late November.
The isolated rural campuses of Washington State and Idaho are eight miles (13 km) apart on the Palouse, creating a natural border war known as the Battle of the Palouse. Idaho rejoined FBS in 1996, until 2017.
Colorado also has a rivalry with in-state rival Colorado State called the Rocky Mountain Showdown.
With the NCAA permanently approving 12-game schedules in college football beginning in 2006, the Pac-10—alone among major conferences in doing so—went to a full nine-game conference schedule. Previously, the schools did not play one non-rival opponent, resulting in an eight-game conference schedule (four home games and four away). In 2010, the last season before the arrival of Colorado and Utah, the only other BCS conference that played a round-robin schedule was the Big East. The schedule consisted of one home and away game against the two schools in each region, plus the game against the primary in-state rival.
On October 21, 2010 the Pac-10 announced the creation of divisions and a championship game in football, to be used when Colorado and Utah joined the conference effective July 1, 2011. The twelve members were split into two divisions for football only: a North Division comprising the Pacific Northwest and Bay Area schools, and a South Division comprising the Mountain Time Zone and Los Angeles schools. The four California schools (gray background below) will still play each other every season despite spanning both divisions.
|North Division||South Division|
|Oregon State||Arizona State|
A nine-game conference schedule is being maintained, with five games within the assigned division and four games from the opposite division. The four California teams will play each other every season. Consequently, the four non-California teams in each division will only play one of the two California teams from the opposite division each year.
The Pac-12 Football Championship Game features the North Division Champion against the South Division Champion. The divisional champions are determined based on record in all conference games (both divisional and cross-divisional). The first three championship games were played at the home stadium of the participant with the better overall conference record. Since 2014, the Championship Game has been hosted at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, but will move to Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas for at least 2020 and 2021.
As of the 2017 college football season, the following is the selection order of bowl games with Pac-12 tie-ins. If a Pac-12 team is selected to participate in the College Football Playoff, all other bowl-eligible teams move up one spot in the order.
|1||Rose Bowl||Pasadena, California||Big Ten||1|
|2||Alamo Bowl||San Antonio, Texas||Big 12||2|
|3||Holiday Bowl||San Diego, California||Big Ten||4|
|4||Redbox Bowl||Santa Clara, California||Big Ten||6|
|5||Sun Bowl||El Paso, Texas||ACC||4|
|6||Las Vegas Bowl||Las Vegas, Nevada||MWC||1|
|7||Cheez-It Bowl||Tempe, Arizona||Big 12||5|
Pac-12 All-Century Football Team
- Quarterbacks: John Elway, Stanford; Marcus Mariota, Oregon; Jim Plunkett, Stanford; Andrew Luck, Stanford; Matt Leinart, USC
- Running backs: Marcus Allen, USC; OJ Simpson, USC; Charles White, USC; Reggie Bush, USC; Mike Garrett, USC
- Wide receivers: Keyshawn Johnson, USC; Lynn Swann, USC; Marqise Lee, USC; JJ Stokes, UCLA; Ken Margerum, Stanford
- Tight ends: Tony Gonzalez, California; Charles Young, USC;
- Offensive line: Jonathan Ogden, UCLA; Ron Yary, USC; Tony Boselli, USC; Anthony Muñoz, USC; Lincoln Kennedy, Washington; Brad Budde, USC; Randall McDaniel, Arizona State
- Defensive ends: Tedy Bruschi, Arizona; Terrell Suggs, Arizona State; Willie McGinest, USC; Andre Carter, California; Jim Jeffcoat, Arizona State
- Defensive tackles: Steve Emtman, Washington; Haloti Ngata, Oregon; Rob Waldrop, Arizona; Leonard Williams, USC; Ed White, California
- Linebackers Junior Seau, USC; Jerry Robinson, UCLA; Ricky Hunley, Arizona; Richard Wood, USC; Chris Claiborne, USC
- Cornerbacks Joey Browner, USC; Mel Renfro, Oregon; Chris McAlister, Arizona; Antoine Cason, Arizona
- Safeties: Ronnie Lott, USC ; Kenny Easley, UCLA; Troy Polamalu, USC; Mark Carrier, USC
- Kicker: Jason Hanson, Washington State
- Punter: Tom Hackett, Utah
- Returner: Reggie Bush, USC
- Coach: John McKay, USC
As of 2017, Pac-12 schools have won a record 16 Division I national titles. Oregon won the first NCAA Tournament in 1939. UCLA has won 11 national titles, the most of any Division I team. Arizona has won the most recent national title, winning in 1997. Stanford, Utah & Cal round out the 16 titles coming in 1942, 1944 & 1959 respectively.
Rivalries in other sports
All of the intra-conference rivalries in football are carried over into other sports.
During the 1970s, UCLA and Notre Dame had an intense men's basketball rivalry. For several years, it was one of a small number of non-conference games in Division I basketball that was played twice a season (home-and-away). The most famous game in the rivalry was on January 19, 1974, when Notre Dame scored the last 12 points of the game to nip UCLA and end the Bruins' record 88-game winning streak. This rivalry is now dormant, partly because Notre Dame is no longer independent in sports other than football (now in the ACC).
In baseball, there are intense rivalries between the four southern schools. Arizona, Arizona State, and USC have long and successful histories in baseball and all have won national titles in the sport. The most intense series is widely regarded to be the "Basebrawl" series between USC and Arizona State in 1990. Arizona State swept the series and in the final game a bench clearing brawl spread quickly to the stands and made national headlines. Several were injured and riot police were called to end the fracas.
Washington and California have a longstanding rivalry in men's crew as the two traditionally dominant programs on the West Coast.
Due to the unique geographic nature of the Pac-12 teams, the teams travel in pairs for road basketball games. For example, on Thursday, February 28, 2008, USC played Arizona and UCLA played Arizona State. Two nights later the teams switched and USC played Arizona State and UCLA played Arizona. The teams are paired as follows: USC and UCLA (the L.A. teams), Arizona and Arizona State (the Arizona teams), California and Stanford (the Bay Area teams), Washington and Washington State (the Washington teams), Oregon and Oregon State (the Oregon teams), and Colorado and Utah (the Rocky Mountain teams). Usually, the games are played on Thursdays and Saturdays with a game or occasionally two on Sundays for television purposes. This pairing formula is also used in women's volleyball. To make scheduling simpler for men and women's basketball (a sport in which each conference member uses a single venue for both teams' home games), the schedule for women's basketball is the opposite of the men's schedule. For example, when the Oregon schools are hosting the men's teams from the Arizona schools, the Arizona schools host the women's teams from Oregon schools the same weekend.
This formula has made a tradition in conference play to keep track of how a team does against a particular region; and stats are kept as to how successful a team is against, for example, "the Bay Area schools" at home or away. Effective in the 2011–12 season, with the expansion into 12 teams, a 10-year rotation model has been developed to maintain the existing 18-game conference schedule. Teams remained paired with their regional rival. Each school plays its regional rival and six other teams both home and away, and the other four teams once – two at home and two away. The newest members, Colorado and Utah, are paired with each other. The single play opponents rotate every two years.
Recently, Cal Poly and UCLA has grown into a competitive Men's Soccer rivalry with Cal Poly hosting UCLA in a 0–0 tie in front of a crowd of 8,717 which at the time was the 9th largest regular season, on-campus attendance in the history of college soccer. The schools have played several times since however UCLA has not returned to San Luis Obispo for a Friday or Saturday game since tying Cal Poly in front of a record crowd. UCLA leads the series 6–2–2.
Since restarting in 1959 as the AAWU, the Pac-12 has had only four commissioners:
|Thomas J. Hamilton||1959–1971||12 years||AAWU / Pacific-8|
|Wiles Hallock||1971–1983||12 years||Pacific-8 / Pacific-10|
|Thomas C. Hansen||1983–2009||26 years||Pacific-10|
|Larry Scott||2009–present||10 years||Pacific-10 / Pac-12|
Commissioners of the forerunner PCC
- Herb Dana (193x–40)
- Edwin N. Atherton (1940–44)
- Victor O. Schmidt (1944–59)
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