Former NCAA conference commissioner discusses why he feels Washington, Oregon didn't join B1G with UCLA, USC
While there were rumors that the B1G could opt to add more teams beyond UCLA and USC—the departure of those 2 programs from the Pac-12 in 2024 having ignited an icy relationship between the conferences that originally planned a scheduling alliance with the ACC—that appears to be off the table now. CBS Sports college football writer Dennis Dodd reported on Wednesday that the B1G’s pursuit of 4 other Pac-12 teams, specifically Cal, Oregon, Stanford, and Washington, has “cooled”. Still, per Dodd, that won’t stop it from pushing for the crown jewel in the realignment landscape: Notre Dame.
The B1G, for its part, may need to be cautious if it does chose to expand in the future, in the eyes of Karl Benson, the former commissioner of the MAC, WAC, and Sun Belt. The risk of growing too big could possibly damage other conferences’ chances of gaining a foothold in the college sports space, including in the College Football Playoff.
“Maybe the reason Washington and Oregon didn’t go with USC and UCLA at the same time is the fear of collusion,” Benson told Dodd. “That’s a legitimate concern of the damages that one conference does to another.”
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Benson also cautioned that if the B1G had opted to add Washington and Oregon to the mix, that could have caused antitrust concerns between it and the Pac-12.
“If the Big Ten gutted a conference and took Washington and Oregon, [if I was] George Kliavkoff, I might pursue antitrust action there,” he said.