Pacific-10 conference, known as Pac-10 is a unique conference by itself. It is basically a college athletic conference. Its main operating area is United States. Participating arena of the conference members is the NCAA’s first Division. A number of well known Universities are the members in the conference and they compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision that formerly was known as I-A Divison. It was the higher one among the two levels of the NCAA first Division football competition.
The conference has got ten members. These members are primarily leading universities that are the best in their respective regions. All of them are highly reputed and have relative large student strength. These universities compete in the 22 NCAA sports.
“It was founded as the Athletic Association of Western Universities or AAWU in 1959, and went by the names Big Five, Big Six, and Pacific 8 before becoming the Pacific 10 in 1978. The current commissioner of the conference is Thomas C. Hansen, who has announced that he will retire in July 2009 after 26 years in that position. Hansen will be replaced by Larry Scott Chairman and CEO of the Women’s Tennis Association.
Brief History of the Organization
Way back on December 15th, 1915 the Pacific Coast Conference was founded. This also sowed the seeds of the new organization that one sees today. A meeting was held at Oregon Hotel of the city of Portland. Initial charter members were California University at Berkeley, Washington University, Oregon University and Oregon State College. Games were commenced in the year 1918. A year later the Washington State College, now well known as the Washington State University also joined the league. Stanford University followed suit in 1918.
(Source: Games Colleges Play: Scandal and Reform in Intercollegiate Athletics, the Johns Hopkins University Press 1996)
The Early Days - PCC
In the year 1922 the PCC expanded further and included eight teams. They admitted USC and Idaho. Montana joined the Conference in 1924 and by 1928 the membership had grown up to 10. As the noted writer Petersen says on the history of PCC and PAC -
“In 1922, the PCC expanded to eight teams with the admission of USC and Idaho. Montana joined the Conference in 1924, and in 1928, the PCC grew to 10 members with the addition of UCLA. For many years, the conference split into two divisions for basketball -- a Southern Division comprising the four California schools and a Northern Division comprising the six schools in the Pacific Northwest. In 1950, Montana departed to join the Mountain States Conference. The PCC continued as a nine-team league through 1958.”
Subsequently however there were several scandals of got-up games in PCC institutions. The most notable among them were California, USC, Washington, and UCA. Ultimately PCC disbanded in 1959.
When Cal, Stanford, UCLA, USC, and Washington started talking about forming a new conference, retired Admiral Thomas J. Hamilton interceded and suggested the schools consider creating a "power conference." Nicknamed the "Airplane Conference", the five PCC schools would've played with other big schools including Army, Navy, Air Force, Notre Dame, Penn, Penn State, Duke, and Georgia Tech among others. The effort fell through when a Pentagon official vetoed the idea and the service academies backed out.
On July 1, 1959 the Athletic Association of Western Universities was formed, with Cal, Stanford, UCLA, USC, and Washington as charter members. The conference also was popularly known as the Big Five from 1960-1961 Washington State University joined in 1962. The conference was then known as the Big Six.
After the PAC 8 in 1968, Arizona and Arizona State joined the conference making it PAC10 as it is today. Inheriting the PCC’s berth in the Rose Bowl it also got encompassed all the eight largest school those were members in PCC. However their charter is different. All PAC 10 members participate in at least one MPSF sports. They also admit some other schools as associate members. As one of the founding members of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, PAC-10 also organizes non-revenue Olympic sports.
Commencing with the 1975 NCAA Men’s First Division Basketball Tournament, the PAC 10 started placing large teams in the tournament. By 1985-86
PAC 10 was one of those three remaining conferences that gave automatic NCAA tournament bids to champions of the regular season round robin leagues. Ivy League and Big Ten Conference were the other two. PAC 10 started its modern format in 1987 but was once again changed in 1990 due to opposition from the coaches and players. Moreover the revenue collection was poor.
Game patterns at PAC 10
Ordinarily the top five schools in PAC10 will end up their seasons playing against each other. The season therefore becomes extremely uncertain. As Patric Finlay puts it in his subject “Anyway you define it - The top five schools in the conference finish their seasons essentially playing against each other. Thus far, only two games have been played among the group of UCLA, Cal, Oregon, USC and ASU. Cal beat Oregon. UCLA beat Cal.”
Uncertainty is what makes PAC 10 exceptional and stand out among all other programs.
"I think you find out every week, because it is so competitive in the conference, that anything can happen," said Cal coach Jeff Tedford, whose team has been upset two weeks in row, by Oregon State and UCLA. "But obviously Arizona State is a very good football team. The SC-Oregon game should be very competitive as well. Each and every week in this conference is a battle as well. Nothing ever surprises me in the conference."
Finishing the season ASU will be playing California, Oregon, UCLA, and then will play USC and Arizona in that order.
"It wakes you up, and you're going to find out exactly where you're at each week," Coach Dennis Erickson said. "It's an exciting time for us to be where we're at."
“As the closest Pac-10 race in years enters the backstretch, eyes will be fixed on the best teams in the conference, not just Saturday, but every weekend”, writes Associated Press
"We haven't had the attention we've been getting here at Arizona State for a long period of time," Erickson said.
In fact PAC 10 is an excellent avenue for the budding college level athletes to gain recognition nationally and internationally. Over the years it has been organizing periodical events in support of athletes coming from the university campus. Without doubt it is one of the best in the world. “The current commissioner of the conference is Thomas C. Hansen, who has announced that he will retire in July 2009 after 26 years in that position. Hansen will be replaced by Larry Scott, Chairman and CEO of the Women's Tennis Association.”
With ten excellent stadiums as the sporting venues in ten states of United States, the opportunities provided are immense. They provide facilities for multiple games but the widest are in the zone of football, basketball and baseball.
Students pursuing games and studies simultaneously could be difficult proposition but that is what Pac 10 provides the students from the universities in United States. In the process it has been able to spot talents in almost every type of games and prospects of budding talents becoming star of the future have brightened consequentially. With multiple scholarship programs and awards for the talented youth they are really doing a great service for development of sports in United States. A look at the PAC 10 mission statement is clear indication of the objectives of the world class athletes’ conference of United States.
“Pac-10 Conference Mission Statement”
“1. To maintain a position of national leadership in the conduct of intercollegiate athletics in a manner consistent with the Conference's values.
2. To value adherence to the highest standards of higher education, academic achievement, ethical conduct, sportsmanship, and a continuing commitment to gender equity and ethnic diversity.
3. To sustain the Conference's unparalleled record of athletics excellence.
4. To emphasize the welfare of the student-athlete throughout the enterprise and provide opportunity and encouragement for each participant in a Pac-10 program to acquire a baccalaureate degree and the skills necessary to function as a productive member of society.
5. To assure each member institution's commitment to the Conference's values, and, in so doing, to foster collegial relationships among members and to manage the tensions that frequently surface in a competitive environment.
6. To frequently reassess the scope and quality of the Conference's programs and policies and progressively evaluate new technologies and opportunities to enhance programs.”
Education and combination of sports to attain the highest grades of excellence – that is what pac10 stands for and represents.