USC president reportedly 'shut down' potential Pac-12 expansion in 2021
USC and UCLA leaving the Big Ten for the Pac-12 together has led to conference realignment fever in the college football world. Fans and media members have spent much of the college football offseason discussing programs’ potential moves.
Down to 10 members starting in August 2024, the Pac-12 is looking to expand. A weekend report from the Los Angeles Times reveals that the conference looked into expanding in 2021 after Texas and Oklahoma left the Big 12 for the SEC. With the Big 12 unstable, some of its schools were interested in joining the Pac-12.
The LA Times reports that USC president Carol Folt was part of a Pac-12 committee of 3 presidents and 3 athletic directors to discuss expansion. Shortly into an hour-long presentation, Folt questioned the need to expand:
Folt told the group that she did not understand why the Pac-12 would expand and expressed surprise they were even talking about it, according to multiple sources who were familiar with the call but not authorized to speak publicly because of the sensitivity of the subject.
“Carol shut it down,” one source said.
“She cooled the whole process,” another source said.
Fast forward roughly 10 months later and Folt approved of USC joining the Big Ten in an expansion move. Folt declined to comment for the Times story.