Further expansion is upon the Big Ten as Tony Petitti has made his first big move as commissioner.
Multiple sources are reporting that Oregon & Washington are expected to officially join the Big Ten after months of speculation about expansion. A vote will take place within the Big Ten on Friday afternoon, which is expected to be unanimous.
The two new additions will bring the total number of schools in the Big Ten to 18. This is the largest in the country and there are still talks to expand further. The news comes months after USC and UCLA planned to join the conference. Oregon and Washington become the fourth and fifth schools to leave the Pac-12 with Colorado agreeing to join the Big 12. Now, the future of the Pac-12 has to be in question.
The Big Ten has kept an eye on other programs as well, such as Stanford and Cal. The conference has also played around with the idea of adding ACC programs if some decide to leave.
While this is all further speculation, it will become official that there are two new members of the Big Ten expanding the number of teams to 18.
The move is expected to start in 2024. Oregon and Washington will not receive full shares in the Big Ten’s new media rights deal but will still bring in more money than it would if it remained in the Pac-12. The Big Ten “vetted” multiple schools last year in hopes of expansion but waited for other dominoes to fall.
After adding USC and UCLA, the Big Ten waited for other programs to make decisions. Once Colorado planned to leave, along with Arizona and Arizona State, the Big Ten decided to make a run at both Oregon and Washington.
According to Brett McMurphy of Action Network, the Mountain West will remain on the look for other programs looking to leave the Pac-12. A possibility remains here for the two conferences to figure out a merger of some sort since both media rights deals are figured out.
There was some thoughts of this move halting overnight but it gained major legs on Friday morning. The Big Ten is expected to vote unanimously to make the two additions. Where does this leave the conference moving forward? It is clear that the Big Ten is interested in building a super-conference and there could be some more teams on the way shortly.