Pac-12 death blow? Oregon, UW reportedly headed to Big Ten

The Pac-12 lurched toward extinction Friday as Oregon and Washington reportedly prepared to accept membership invitations to join the Big Ten.

Yahoo reported that the Big Ten is in “the final stages of negotiating an expansion to 18 teams,” with the Ducks and Huskies set to join USC and UCLA next summer to create a western arm.

The momentous development would prevent the Pac-12 from completing a media rights deal and trigger a chain reaction that would lead to the dissolution of the 108-year-old conference.

Without the Pacific Northwest powers committed, Arizona is expected to swiftly accept an invitation to the Big 12, with Arizona State and Utah to follow soon after.

The remaining four schools — Stanford, Cal, Washington State and Oregon State — would face uncertain futures as tenants of an otherwise empty conference.

Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff faced a series of late-breaking obstacles as he tried to salvage the conference, the most serious being the Big Ten’s sudden pursuit of Oregon and Washington.

For most of the past year, the Big Ten presidents and their media partner, Fox, showed no interest in additional West Coast expansion. Everything changed this week, killing the Pac-12’s last-gasp chance to survive.

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