Home Sports Oregon and Washington had ‘incoming interest’ to join Big Ten, Commish says

Oregon and Washington had ‘incoming interest’ to join Big Ten, Commish says

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Oregon and Washington had ‘incoming interest’ to join Big Ten, Commish says

ROSEMONT, Ill. — Interest from Oregon and Washington to join the Big Ten following Colorado’s departure from the Pac-12 to the Big 12 has largely prompted the Big Ten to consider adding the two schools this month. last, said league commissioner Tony Petitti. told ESPN.

The Big Ten had focused on bringing in new USC and UCLA members in 2024 and was not considering further expansion as of late July. But Colorado’s departure to the Big 12 on July 27, before Pac-12 schools saw a proposal for streaming-based media rights, changed the landscape, Petitti said.

The Big Ten voted unanimously Aug. 4 to add Oregon and Washington.

“Oregon and Washington had real intent; they were working hard to make it an option for them,” Petitti said in his first in-depth comments on the expansion additions. “They really, really wanted to be part of the Big Ten. We felt that throughout the process.”

Oregon and Washington will join the Big Ten in 2024 but will not receive full media rights shares then, unlike USC and UCLA. The two are expected to receive between $30 million and $35 million a year, sources say, a share that will increase by $1 million during the Big Ten’s season-spanning media deal with Fox, NBC and CBS. sport 2029-30.

Petitti said existing Big Ten members were “receptive early on” to adding Oregon and Washington, but wanted to see how the schedule, finances and other issues would be resolved. The planning benefits to USC and UCLA of having two additional members on the West Coast factored into the Big Ten’s decision.

“We all felt that whatever aspect we looked at made us better,” Petitti said. “It just became a process of trying to figure out how. My job is to make sure the conference is as great in the future as it is today. There are opportunities to protect that and make sure we get better.”

Petitti said the Big Ten has no plans to expand beyond 18 members at this time. The league is focused on its 2024 and 2025 football calendars, which will maintain the principles of the “Flex Protect Plus” model announced in June. Oregon and Washington will play as the league’s 12th protected game each year, operations manager Kerry Kenny told ESPN, and more protected games are possible.

The Big Ten are “days or even weeks” away from announcing home opponents for the 2024 schedule and then will finalize specific dates. The league will eliminate splits after the 2023 season and bring its top two teams into its championship game.

Kenny said the Big Ten’s priorities with its schedule are to maximize opportunities to advance to the Expanded College Football Playoffs, allow each team to play against every other team as much as possible, and balance geography with the travel and competition trends.

“We’re making sure we don’t have any outliers in terms of the toughest schedule or the easiest schedule for any of our teams, and we’re working on how to balance the levels of competition,” Kenny said. “You’re going to see a lot of what people seem to have liked with the Flex Protect Plus. We’re looking at different options of what it might look like to see how we balance not only the travel component of our Eastern and center schools, but also how often we can get everyone to play both in these four [West Coast] schools.”

Pettiti agreed with SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey that the CFP’s format needs to be evaluated after the substantial realignment that occurred over the summer. The original 12-team format provided for the six highest-rated conference champions and six spots overall.

“Those circumstances are different,” Petitti said. “It’s our job to make sure everything that’s been created has meaning. I’ll say my number 1 [goal] is access. Something as big and important as the college football playoffs, as big and strong as the Big Ten, my goal is to give as many teams the opportunity in any given season when they have earned it, to compete for a national championship.

The CFP’s steering committee will then meet on September 25 at the offices of the Big Ten. Petitti said he doesn’t know a timeline for when the format will be finalized, but said there is “a timeline that gives you an idea of ​​when you have to make decisions because ultimately we’re going to play the matches”.

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