2017-18 Pac-12 Year in Review
SAN FRANCISCO - Built on a firm foundation of academic excellence and superior athletic performance, the Pac-12 Conference renewed its undisputed claim as the Conference of Champions® in 2017-18. Beyond the courts and fields, the Pac-12’s accomplishments extend into the classrooms across 12 campuses, and outside its traditional geographic footprint into new corners around the world.
The only conference to win 500 NCAA Championships, the Pac-12 once again led the nation in 2017-18 with 12 NCAA crowns. This haul adds to an incredible 175 NCAA team titles claimed since 1999-2000 and 317 since 1981-82, the start of women’s sports sponsorship, an average of over nine per year. Even more impressive has been the breadth of the Pac-12’s success with championships coming in 28 different men’s and women’s sports. The Pac-12 has led or tied the nation in NCAA Championships in 52 of the last 58 years, the only exceptions being in 1980-81, 1988-89, 1990-91 and 1995-96 when the Conference finished second, and only twice finished third in 1998-99 and 2004-05.
For the 13th-consecutive year, the Pac-12 had the most, or tied for the most, NCAA titles of any conference in the country, winning at least six every year since 2000-01. No other conference has won double-digit NCAA crowns in a single year, the Pac-12 doing so 10 times, including a record 14 in 1996-97.
Spanning over a century of outstanding athletics achievements, the Pac-12 has claimed 513 NCAA Championships (300 men’s, 183 women’s, 30 combined), over 200 more than the next league.
Pac-12 members have won 300 NCAA team championships on the men’s side, 83 more than the next-closest conference. Men’s NCAA crowns have come at a phenomenal rate for the Pac-12 - 16 basketball titles by six schools, 54 tennis titles, 47 outdoor track & field crowns, and 29 baseball titles. Pac-12 members have won 25 of 48 NCAA titles in volleyball, 44 of 49 in water polo, 30 in skiing, and 24 in swimming & diving national championships.
Individually, the Conference has produced an impressive number of NCAA individual champions. Over 2,000 (2,334) individual crowns have been won by Pac-12 student-athletes over the years with 1,370 by male student-athletes. Student-athletes have also captured 186 individual titles at combined championships (i.e., skiing and fencing).
On the women’s side, the story is much the same. Since the NCAA began conducting women’s championships 37 years ago, Pac-12 members have claimed at least four national titles in a single season on 27 occasions, including a current streak of 18-consecutive years, dating back to 2000. Overall, the Pac-12 has captured 183 NCAA women’s titles, easily outdistancing the SEC, which is second with 100. Pac-12 members have dominated a number of sports, winning 23 softball titles, 24 tennis crowns, 15 volleyball titles, 19 of the last 29 trophies in golf, and 16 in swimming & diving.
Pac-12 women student-athletes shine nationally on an individual basis, as well, having captured an unmatched 778 NCAA individual crowns, an average of over 21 championships per season, including 29 in 2017-18.
The Pac-12’s excellence is further proven in the annual Division I Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup competition, the prestigious award that honors the best overall collegiate athletics programs in the country. STANFORD won an unprecedented 24th-consecutive Directors’ Cup in 2017-18 to lead the Conference, leading a 1-2-4 finish for Pac-12 institutions. Five Pac-12 member institutions ranked among the top-25 Division I programs: No. 1 STANFORD, No. 2 UCLA, No. 4 USC, No. 19 CALIFORNIA and No. 24 OREGON. At least five member institutions have been ranked in the top 25 each of the Directors’ Cup program, with seven appearing in the top 20 on five different occasions (1998, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2006).
The Conference’s 12 NCAA titles came in the form of nine women’s and three men’s crowns. Six members claimed at least one NCAA title and, of the five institutions in the country to have won multiples titles, three were from the Pac-12.
STANFORD’s four NCAA titles this year are the most won by any school, extending its streak of winning an NCAA title to 42 years, winning a third-straight championship in men’s soccer, claiming women's swimming and diving for the second-straight year in record fashion, winning an All-Pac-12 final in women’s soccer and the women’s tennis crown for the second time in three years. UCLA claimed three national titles, winning the women’s gymnastics crown for the first time since 2010 on a pair of perfect 10s, its first-ever beach volleyball title and its third men’s water polo crown in four years.
USC won a pair of national championships this season, winning its fifth women’s water polo title in a tense All-Pac-12 finale ,and the women’s track & field team needed a photo finish in the 4x400-meter relay to claim the team national crown, its first since 2001.
A playoff putt sealed the women's golf crown for ARIZONA, its first since 2000; CALIFORNIA won its second rowing national championship in three years; and OREGON STATE fought off six elimination games to win the baseball title, its third all-time and first in over a decade.
In addition to the 12 national championships, the Pac-12 also had runners-up in 10 NCAA Championship events: women’s soccer (UCLA), men’s water polo (USC), skiing (COLORADO), men’s swimming and diving (CALIFORNIA), women’s swimming and diving (CALIFORNIA), men’s indoor track & field (USC), softball (WASHINGTON), rowing (WASHINGTON), men’s volleyball (UCLA) and women’s water polo (STANFORD). In 11 sports, there were at least two teams among the final four and 39 teams finished in the top four at 23 NCAA Championship events, including all-Pac-12 finals in women’s soccer, men’s water polo and women’s water polo.
Participation in the postseason was a common occurrence for the Pac-12 in 2017-18. Of the 24 sports sponsored by the Conference, 17 witnessed at least half its teams participating in NCAA or other postseason action. The men sent 63 of a possible 101 teams into the postseason (62.4 percent), while the women sent 82 of a possible 130 teams (63.0 percent).
USC became the first South Division team to capture the Pac-12 football title. After the North Division won the Conference’s first six Pac-12 Football Championship Games, the Trojans ended the North Division streak with a 31-28 win over Stanford to claim their 39th conference crown. The Pac-12 placed nine teams in bowl games, including a pair of teams in the CFP with USC in the Cotton Bowl and WASHINGTON in the Fiesta Bowl. STANFORD running back Bryce Love became the fifth player in Pac-12 history to rush for 2,000 yards (2,118) and was named the Doak Walker Award winner as the nation’s top running back. ARIZONA’s Khalil Tate became the first quarterback in Pac-12 history to rush for 1,000 yards (1,411 yards) and set an FBS single-game rushing record by a quarterback with 327 yards vs. Colorado. USC’s Sam Darnold was the No. 3 overall pick in the NFL Draft by the New York Jets, while UCLA’s Josh Rosen was the No. 10 selection overall by the Arizona Cardinals. It marked the third time in Conference history that two Pac-12 quarterbacks were selected in the first round, and the sixth time ever that multiple quarterbacks from the same conference were selected in the first round.
Pac-12 men's basketball sent eight teams to postseason play for the fourth time in the past six seasons, with three teams - ARIZONA, ARIZONA STATE and UCLA - selected for the NCAA Tournament and a league-record five chosen to the NIT. All five NIT teams - OREGON, STANFORD, USC, UTAH and WASHINGTON - won their opening round games, and the Utes enjoyed the deepest postseason run of any Conference team, advancing to New York City and Madison Square Garden where they defeated Western Kentucky in the NIT semifinals before falling to Penn State in the title game. Seven Pac-12 teams reached the 20-win plateau, equaling the most-ever for the league, highlighted by regular-season and tournament champion Arizona's 27-win campaign.
Pac-12 women’s basketball has enjoyed historic performances over the last four years, establishing the Conference as a premier league in the sport. Six teams earned NCAA Tournament bids, marking the fifth-consecutive year at least five teams garnered bids. Four teams advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the third-consecutive year and a record-tying three teams were in the NCAA Elite Eight. It was the second time in three years that at least that many teams advanced that far. OREGON won its first Pac-12 regular-season title since 1999-2000 and first-ever Pac-12 Tournament crown. The Ducks earned their highest NCAA Tournament seed, garnering the No. 2 seed in the Spokane Regional. ARIZONA STATE, CALIFORNIA, OREGON STATE, STANFORD and UCLA joined UO in the “Big Dance,” with UTAH earning a bid in the WNIT. For the first time in Pac-12 history, three teams were ranked in the final top-25 of the USA Today/WBCA Coaches poll, the Ducks finishing with their highest-ever final ranking at No. 5. UCLA was at No. 7, OREGON STATE was No. 8 and STANFORD was No. 13, appearing in the final poll for the 17th-consecutive year. Four teams also appeared in the final Associated Press poll, the fourth-straight year the Conference had at least four teams in the final ranking. The Pac-12 boasts the most NCAA Tournament wins of any conference in the country over the last three years (41) and the best winning percentage among peer leagues (.695).
STANFORD won its 17th all-time Pac-12 women’s volleyball title, advancing to its 21st all-time NCAA semifinal in 2017. The Cardinal headlined nine league teams to earn NCAA Tournament bids, marking the fourth time in the last five years at least eight Conference teams participated in the postseason event. Along with Stanford, COLORADO, OREGON, OREGON STATE, UCLA, USC, UTAH, WASHINGTON and WASHINGTON STATE punched their tickets to the tournament. Eleven student-athletes were selected AVCA All-Americans, with seven of those being sophomores or juniors on the first or second teams. Six teams appeared in the final AVCA Coaches poll, five of them in the top 15. The Pac-12 has won a NCAA-record 15 of the 37 NCAA titles awarded.
OREGON STATE baseball recorded the Pac-12’s 12th and final NCAA title of the 2017-18 campaign, the Beavers winning the last two of the three-game championship series versus Arkansas to claim their third all-time College World Series title and first since 2007. The Beavers had their backs against the wall since losing their opening game of the CWS, winning four-straight elimination games to get to the championship series, before winning two more versus Arkansas to claim the crown. STANFORD claimed the Pac-12 crown for the first time in 15 years and received the Conference’s automatic bid as four league squads earned berths. UCLA and WASHINGTON rounded out the four postseason teams, the Huskies advancing for the first time ever to the CWS as well. The Pac-12 has, by far, won the most baseball national titles of any conference in the country, claiming 29 titles dating back to 1947.
The Pac-12 Conference has historically dominated the sport of softball where league teams have claimed 23 NCAA titles in the 37-year history of the championship. Pac-12 teams captured an unprecedented nine in a row from 1988-1997, then most recently claimed six-straight from 2006-11. OREGON picked up its fourth Pac-12 title in six years and seven league teams earned berths to the 2018 NCAA Tournament, marking the 23rd-consecutive year the Conference has had five or more teams advance to the postseason and has had at least three berths every year since the league began sponsoring the sport in 1987. Half of the eight-team Women’s College World Series field was comprised of Pac-12 teams, with WASHINGTON, ARIZONA STATE, OREGON and UCLA advancing that far. The Huskies played in the championship series, marking the 29th time at least one Pac-12 team reached the finale.
PAC-12 CONFERENCE HISTORY
The roots of the Pac-12 Conference date back more than 100 years, to December 2, 1915, when the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC) was founded at a meeting at the Imperial Hotel in Portland, Ore. The original membership consisted of four schools - the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Washington, the University of Oregon, and Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State University). All four are still charter members of the Conference.
Pacific Coast Conference play began in 1916 and, one year later, Washington State College (now Washington State University) was accepted into the league, with Stanford University following in 1918.
In 1922, the PCC expanded to eight teams with the admission of the University of Southern California (USC) and the University of Idaho. In 1924, the University of Montana joined the league roster and in 1928, the PCC grew to 10 members with the addition of UCLA.
The Pacific Coast Conference competed as a 10-member league until 1950, with the exception of 1943-45 when World War II curtailed intercollegiate athletic competition to a minimum. During that time, the league’s first commissioner was named. Edwin N. Atherton was Commissioner in 1940 and was succeeded by Victor O. Schmidt in 1944. In 1950, Montana resigned from the Conference and the PCC continued as a nine-team Conference through 1958.
In 1959, the PCC was dissolved and the Athletic Association of Western Universities (AAWU) was formed with Thomas J. Hamilton appointed Commissioner of the new league. The original AAWU membership included California, Stanford, USC, UCLA, and Washington. Washington State joined the membership in 1962, while Oregon and Oregon State joined in 1964. Under Hamilton’s watch, the name Pacific-8 Conference was adopted in 1968. In 1971, Wiles Hallock took over as Commissioner of the Pac-8.
Ten years later, on July 1, 1978, the University of Arizona and Arizona State University were admitted to the league and the Pacific-10 Conference became a reality. In 1986-87, the league took on a new look, expanding to include 10 women’s sports. Since then, the Conference has been considered the premier league in women’s athletics, securing the most NCAA titles in women’s sports of any conference nearly every year.
Thomas C. Hansen was named the Commissioner of the Pac-10 in 1983, a role he would hold for 26 years until 2009, when he was succeeded by current Commissioner Larry Scott.
The University of Colorado accepted its invitation to join the Pac-12 on June 11, 2010, and on June 17, 2010, the University of Utah agreed to join the Conference. The Buffaloes and Utes officially became the 11th and 12th members of the Conference on July 1, 2011, the first additions to the league since 1978.
It was during the 2010-11 academic year that Scott helped deliver monumental changes that transformed the Conference into a modern 12-team league. In addition to expanding to 12 teams, member institutions agreed to equal revenue sharing for the first time in the Conference’s history, created two football divisions - the North and the South, and established a Football Championship Game for the first time. He also secured landmark media rights deals with ESPN and FOX that dramatically increased national exposure and revenue for each school, in addition to establishing Pac-12 Networks which guaranteed enhanced exposure across all sports.
Currently, the Pac-12 sponsors 11 men’s sports and 13 women’s sports, with women’s lacrosse a new addition for the 2017-18 academic year and beach volleyball having been added in 2015-16. Additionally, the Conference is a member of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) in four other men’s sports and two women’s sports.
The Pac-12 Conference offices are located in the heart of San Francisco in the SOMA district.
2017-18 PAC-12 CHAMPIONS
|Baseball: Stanford||Basketball: Oregon|
|Basketball: Arizona||Beach Volleyball: UCLA|
|Cross Country: Stanford||Cross Country: Colorado|
|Football: USC||Golf: UCLA|
|Golf: USC||Gymnastics: UCLA|
|Rowing: Washington||Lacrosse: Colorado|
|Soccer: Stanford||Rowing: Washington|
|Swimming & Diving: California||Soccer: Stanford|
|Tennis: UCLA||Softball: Oregon|
|Track & Field, Outdoor: Oregon||Swimming & Diving: Stanford|
|Wrestling: Arizona State||Tennis: Stanford|
|Track & Field, Outdoor: USC|