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Big Ten has cleared the way for Oregon and Washington to apply for membership

If approved, the two schools will become the 17th and 18th members of the conference.
The+move+has+yet+to+be+formally+agreed+to+but+the+two+schools%2C+if+approved%2C+will+be+the+17th+and+18th+members+of+the+conference
Image by Ava Weinreis
The move has yet to be formally agreed to but the two schools, if approved, will be the 17th and 18th members of the conference

The Big Ten has cleared the way for Oregon and Washington to apply for membership and join the conference, four people with familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Friday.

The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the conference and schools were finalizing an official agreement and announcement.

The Ducks and Huskies from the Pac-12 still must officially apply for membership and the Big Ten presidents, who met Friday morning to discuss expansion, need to officially approve any moves.

Two of the people familiar with the negotiations said the schools’ applications are expected to be unanimously approved.

When that’s done, they will become the 17th and 18th members of the Big Ten, and the third and fourth on the West Coast, joining USC and UCLA.

The Big Ten announced June 30, 2022, University of Southern California (USC) and University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) would also be joining the Big Ten.

 Gophers volleyball head coach Keegan Cook said on Wednesday at a press conference that USC and UCLA will not only grow as programs but will also strengthen the Big Ten’s volleyball program. Cook served as head coach for the Washington Huskies women’s volleyball team for eight seasons and has experience working with all three programs.

“I think they’re [USC & UCLA volleyball] a little bit of sleeping giants,” Cook said. “I think it’s going to elevate them when they see what’s going on in the Big Ten.”

The latest departure from the Pac-12 pushed the storied West Coast college sports conference to the brink of extinction.

Arizona has been in serious talks to leave for the Big 12 and join Colorado, which announced last week its exit from the Pac-12 after this year. It is unclear if in-state rival Arizona State will join the Wildcats. The Arizona Board of Regents held a special meeting Thursday night to try to get the schools on the same page.

The Big 12 also has been targeting Utah.

Pac-12 leaders met early Friday to determine if the nine remaining schools, which at the time included Oregon and Washington, would accept a potential media rights deal with Apple, according to a person familiar with that meeting.

With Oregon and Washington positioned to jump, the Pac-12 is in danger of soon being down to four members: Stanford, California, Oregon State and Washington.

Minnesota Daily sports writer Alex Karwowski contributed to this report.

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