Pac-10 Finds A Way To Keep Alumni Dollars Flowing, Despite Re-alignment

USC cheerleaders

Photo: Bobak Ha’Eri on Wikimedia Commons

After adding Colorado and Utah to get to 12 teams this spring, the Pac-10 was afforded the luxury (and the extra cash!) of a conference championship game. That necessitates splitting the conference into two divisions. Yesterday, Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott announced the split.North Division: Stanford, Cal, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington and Washington State.

South Division: USC, UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, Colorado.

The alignment splits USC from its traditional rivals, Stanford and Cal. That was a big concern for USC AD Pat Haden.

“My alumni will kill me if we don’t play the Northern California schools and have the weekender every year,” said Haden, in the days leading up to the decision. Those games were crucial to USC’s alumni relations efforts, the source of significant cash flow for the athletic department.

But his life appears to be in good hands, at least until USC’s next recruiting violation. The nine-game conference schedule has USC playing each of the other five teams in their division every season, annual matchups with Stanford and Cal, and alternating contests with two of the Washington and Oregon schools.

USC has played Stanford and Cal in every season since 1946.

The unconventional scheduling appears to have calmed initial alignment concerns. When these divisions were first proposed with traditional scheduling, five schools voted against the alignment. 

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