SEATTLE – The University of Washington will join the Big Ten Conference, leaving the Pac-12 Conference, effective in August 2024, UW President Ana Mari Cauce announced Friday.
“The Big Ten is a thriving conference with strong athletic and academic traditions, and we are excited and confident about competing at the highest level on a national stage,” Cauce said. “My top priority must be to do what is best for our student-athletes and our University, and this move will help ensure a strong future for our athletics program.”
The UW is committed to preserving the rich tradition of the Apple Cup rivalry with Washington State University in all sports, including football.
“We are proud of our rich history with the Pac-12 and for more than a year have worked hard to find a viable path that would keep it together. I have tremendous admiration and respect for my Pac-12 colleagues. Ultimately, however, the opportunities and stability offered by the Big Ten are unmatched,” Cauce said. “Even with this move, we remain committed to the Apple Cup and to competing with WSU across all of our sports.”
The UW was one of the four founding members of what started in December 1915 as the Pacific Coast Conference, which eventually grew to become the Pac-12. USC and UCLA announced their departures for the Big Ten in 2022, and the University of Colorado announced last month that it would leave the Pac-12 for the Big 12 Conference.
With admission to the Big Ten, the UW also joins the Big Ten Academic Alliance, a consortium of world-class research institutions dedicated to advancing their academic missions.
“We have tremendous respect and gratitude for the Pac-12, its treasured history and traditions,” said Jen Cohen, the UW’s director of athletics. “At the same time, the college athletics landscape has changed dramatically in recent years. The Big Ten’s history of athletic and academic success and long-term stability best positions our teams for future success, and we are energized at the opportunity to compete at the highest level against some of the best programs in the country.”
Financial terms of the transition were not immediately announced.