Wagons East? Cal, Stanford in talks to join ACC after several teams leave Pac-12
Aug 8, 2023, 2:47 PM
(AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez, File)
Atlantic Coast Conference presidents and chancellors held a conference call Tuesday but took no action on West Coast expansion with California and Stanford, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the league isn’t publicly revealing internal discussions regarding realignment. Another person with knowledge of the situation said the conference’s athletic directors were planning to have a call later Tuesday to continue discussions. The ADs also met Monday.
The Pac-12 is down to four schools committed to the conference beyond the upcoming school year. This will be the last season in the Pac-12 for USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington, which are all headed for the Big Ten in 2024. Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah will join the Big 12 next year.
The new Big Ten setup means athletes will be routinely crossing multiple time zones to compete.
“I share concerns about the impact that the recent spate of conference realignment activities will have on student-athletes’ well-being,” NCAA president Charlie Baker said in statement. “The recent conference moves highlight what I found during my review of the issues facing the NCAA – the growing gap between well-resourced Division I schools and the rest of the division is highly disruptive for all of DI and college sports overall.”
The ACC, which has 14 schools — but none farther west than Louisville — had interest in the Pac-12 before the conference splintered last week. Stanford and Cal, two of the country’s most prestigious academic schools, would fit the profile of traditional ACC schools such as Duke, North Carolina and Virginia.
Without another Power Five conference option, routinely traveling teams across country to compete might be the best alternative for Stanford and California.
A deal with the ACC would leave just Washington State and Oregon State as Pac-12 members beyond the 2023-24 school year, and increase the likelihood that the Pac-12 simply goes out of business.
Both the Mountain West and American Athletic Conference have interest in adding those schools.