Conference realignment rumors: Phil Knight wants Oregon in the Big Ten

·2 min read

The Big Ten has planted its banner on the west coast with the upcoming additions of USC and UCLA beginning in 2024, but the college football world is waiting to find out if there will be more expansion moves made by the Big Ten. Among the schools evaluating its future in the face of seismic shifts on the tectonic plates of college football’s map is Oregon, with the support of one of the most famous alums in school history reportedly taking part in guiding the Ducks in the big decision-making.

That alum, of course, is Nike co-founder and chairman emeritus Phil Knight. According to a report from John Canzano, Knight and Oregon are actively reviewing every scenario on the table which includes a move to the Big Ten if the conference opens the doors to them. Canzano suggests Knight would prefer Oregon to be in the Big Ten, but there are still a lot of variables in play for the future of the Ducks.

Orgeon and Washington are the two Pac-12 schools that would make the most sense for the Big Ten’s west coast expansion to accompany USC and UCLA, should the conference wish to move in that direction. But there could still be some hurdles to clear before that could even happen as well. State government officials are proposing laws in Oregon and Washington that would tie the University of Oregon and the University of Washington to be required to compete in the same conference as Orgeon State and Washington State, respectively. Whether those state proposals carry much weight is best left to those in Oregon and Washington to decide. But it is worth monitoring just in case.

With the Big Ten adding USC and UCLA, however, adding Oregon makes sense for the Big Ten as it would provide another west coast travel partner of sorts for the Trojans and Bruins, rather than leave them on their own island on the west coast with the nearest Big Ten foe located in Lincoln, Nebraska.

While all of this is going on, the Pac-12 could be bracing for more changes on the horizon with a possible merger with the Big 12 or more schools opting out of the conference in favor of the Big 12.


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