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2018-19 Pac-12 Year In Review

Jul 15, 2019

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 2018-19. 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 2018-19 with 13 NCAA crowns. This haul adds to an incredible 188 NCAA team titles claimed since 1999-2000 and 330 since 1981-82, the start of women’s sports sponsorship, an average of nearly 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 53 of the last 59 years, with the exceptions coming no lower than third.

For the 14th-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 1999-2000. No other conference has won double-digit NCAA crowns in a single year, the Pac-12 doing so 11 times, including a record 14 in 1996-97.

Spanning over a century of outstanding athletics achievements, the Pac-12 has claimed 526 NCAA Championships (304 men’s, 191 women’s, 31 combined), over 200 more than the next league.

Pac-12 members have won 304 NCAA team championships on the men’s side, 85 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 49 NCAA titles in volleyball, 45 of 50 in water polo, 31 in skiing, and 25 in swimming & diving national championships.

On the women’s side, the story is much the same. Since the NCAA began conducting women’s championships 38 years ago, Pac-12 members have claimed at least four national titles in a single season on 29 occasions, including every year except one since 2000-01. Overall, the Pac-12 has captured 191 NCAA women’s titles, easily outdistancing the SEC, which is second with 103. Pac-12 members have dominated a number of sports, winning 24 softball titles, 24 tennis crowns, 16 volleyball titles, 19 of the last 30 trophies in golf, and 17 in swimming & diving.

Individually, the Conference has produced an impressive number of NCAA individual champions. Over 2,000 (2,379) individual crowns have been won by Pac-12 student-athletes over the years with 1,383 by male student-athletes. Pac-12 women student-athletes have captured an unmatched 808 NCAA individual crowns, an average of over 21 championships per season, including 29 in 2018-19. Student-athletes have also captured 188 individual titles at combined championships (i.e., skiing and fencing).

The Pac-12’s excellence is further proven in the annual Division I Learfield IMG College Directors’ Cup competition, the prestigious award that honors the best overall collegiate athletics programs in the country. STANFORD won an unprecedented 25th-consecutive Directors’ Cup in 2018-19 to lead the Conference, leading a 1-5-6 finish for Pac-12 institutions. Six Pac-12 member institutions ranked among the top-25 Division I programs: No. 1 STANFORD, No. 5 USC, No. 6 UCLA, No. 18 CALIFORNIA, No. 19 ARIZONA STATE and No. 24 WASHINGTON. At least five member institutions have been ranked in the top 25 each year of the Directors’ Cup program.

2018-19 REVIEW
The Conference’s 13 NCAA titles came in the form of eight women’s, four men’s crowns and one from a combined sport. Seven Conference members claimed at least one NCAA title and, of the five institutions in the country to have won multiple titles, two were from the Pac-12.

STANFORD’s tied the single-season NCAA record for most NCAA titles with six, a record the Cardinal had set in 1996-97. The Cardinal extended its streak of winning an NCAA title to 43 years with the women’s volleyball team capturing its second crown in three years and NCAA-leading eighth national championship all-time. The Cardinal women’s swimming and diving team won a third-straight title, won its sixth men’s gymnastics crown, captured its NCAA-leading seventh women’s water polo national championship, claimed its nation-leading 20th women’s tennis title, wrapping up the year with men’s golf winning its first NCAA Championship since 2007, upsetting three higher-seeded teams along the way. Stanford was one of just five teams in the nation to win multiple NCAA Championships in 2018-19 and the only one to win more than a pair.

Also a multiple championship winner, UCLA defended its beach volleyball title winning an All-Pac-12 final and claimed its NCAA-leading 12th softball crown, the Conference’s first since 2011.

Led by senior Dani Jones who claimed the individual crown, COLORADO dominated the women’s cross country field to claim its third all-time title. USC won its 10th national championship in men’s water polo, playing in its NCAA-record 14th-consecutive final. UTAH skiing won its second title in three years and 12th all-time while CALIFORNIA men’s swimming and diving built a commanding 85-point cushion over the second-place team to win its first national crown since 2014 and sixth in program history. WASHINGTON women’s rowing swept all three grand finals to win the NCAA Championship for the second time in three years.

In addition to the 13 national championships, the Pac-12 also had runners-up in six NCAA Championship events: men’s water polo (STANFORD), women’s swimming (CALIFORNIA), women’s indoor track & field (USC), women’s water polo (USC), beach volleyball (USC) and wiomen’s track & field (USC). In nine sports, there were at least two teams among the final four and 33 teams finished in the top four at 21 NCAA Championship events, including all-Pac-12 finals in beach volleyball, men’s water polo and women’s water polo.

Participation in the postseason was a common occurrence for the Pac-12 in 2018-19. Of the 24 sports sponsored by the Conference, 19 witnessed at least half its teams participating in NCAA or other postseason action. The men sent 63 of a possible 95 teams into the postseason (66.3 percent), while the women sent 79 of a possible 130 teams (60.8 percent).

WASHINGTON won its second Pac-12 Football Championship Game in three years, and 17th overall, with a 10-3 win over UTAH. It was the seventh time in the last eight seasons where the North Division won the Conference championship. With Utah’s participation in the Championship Game, the South Division has now sent all six teams to the Pac-12 Championship Game in its eight-year existence.

Washington LB Ben Burr-Kirven was named the Pac-12’s Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year and earned first team All-America status by the Football Writers’ Association and the Associated Press. He was also recognized as the Pac-12 Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year. WASHINGTON STATE, which tied Washington atop the North Division, was victorious in the Alamo Bowl to cap an 11-2 season. Quarterback Gardner Minshew II, the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, led the Cougars to their most wins in a season in school history, establishing a new Pac-12 single-season passing mark as he threw for 4,779 yards. OREGON DB Ugochukwu Amadi received the Lombardi Award honoring the top FBS player regardless of position. It is the second-straight season a Pac-12 player earned the award. Three players earned Google Academic All-America Honors — Oregon QB Justin Herbert was named a first team selection, and tabbed as the Academic All-America Team Member of the Year; UW LB Ben Burr-Kirven and OREGON STATE WR Timmy Hernandez were second-team honorees. A total of 33 Pac-12 players were selected in the NFL Draft and now have had three or more players selected in the first round since 2011.

Led by OREGON's surprising four-wins-in-four-days run to the Pac-12 Tournament title in Las Vegas at T-Mobile Arena, Pac-12 men's basketball sent three teams to the NCAA Tournament (ARIZONA STATE, OREGON and WASHINGTON) and a fourth to the NIT (COLORADO) in 2018-19. The Ducks continued their postseason success into the Sweet 16 for the third time in four seasons before bowing out to eventual national champion Virginia, while the Buffaloes reached the NIT quarterfinals before falling on the road to eventual champion Texas. The Huskies claimed the outright Pac-12 regular-season title, clinching the crown in late February thanks to the fifth-best start in Conference history at 10-0 en route to a 15-3 league mark. It marked just the ninth time in Conference history the same school won outright league titles in both football and men's basketball in the same academic year.

Pac-12 women’s basketball has been riding a wave of success over the last five years, establishing itself as a premier league in the sport. After defending its Pac-12 regular-season title, OREGON advanced to its first-ever NCAA Women’s Final Four marking the 10th time in 12 years a league team has reached the national semifinal. With at least half the league earning a NCAA Tournament bid for the third-straight year, the Pac-12 went a combined 11-1 in the first two round, the best record for a conference since 1997. Five teams advanced to the Sweet 16 for the second time in three years and was the only league to have at least two teams in the Elite Eight the last four years. Joining the Ducks in the postseason were ARIZONA STATE, CALIFORNIA, OREGON STATE, STANFORD and UCLA. ARIZONA represented the Conference in the WNIT, capturing the tournament crown in front of a Pac-12 record and sold out crowd of 14,644. The Wildcats recorded the best turnaround in the country, going from six wins to 24 in 2018-19. The Cardinal claimed its 13th all-time Pac-12 Tournament crown which was held for the first time in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. For the first time ever, five Pac-12 teams appeared in the Associated Press final poll, with two ranked in the top 10, extending the Conference’s streak of two top-10 ranked teams to five-consecutive years. UO junior Sabrina Ionescu continued to set NCAA triple-doubles records, owning the most in a career by any man or woman (18), and also set the single-season mark. She was tabbed the WBCA and John R. Wooden National Player of the Year. Cal’s Kristine Anigwe was selected the WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year.

STANFORD won its won its 18th all-time Pac-12 women’s volleyball title en route to winning its NCAA-leading eighth NCAA title in the sport with two-time AVCA National Player of the Year and Pac-12 Player of the Year Kathryn Plummer leading the way. Eight league teams earned NCAA Tournament bids, marking the fifth time in the last six years at least eight Conference teams participated in the postseason event. Along with Stanford, COLORADO, OREGON, USC, UTAH, WASHINGTON and WASHINGTON STATE punched their tickets to the tournament. Thirteen student-athletes were selected AVCA All-Americans, with eight of those being sophomores or juniors. Six teams appeared in the final AVCA Coaches poll. The Pac-12 has won a NCAA-record 16 of the 38 NCAA titles awarded.

UCLA won its 10th all-time Pac-12 baseball title, setting new program records for wins (52) and league wins (24). The Bruins led the country with a .855 regular-season winning percentage, earning the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. The league earned five tournament berths for the most since 2015, with invitations given to ARIZONA STATE, CALIFORNIA, OREGON STATE and STANFORD, in addition to the Bruins. OSU’s Adley Rutschman had one of the most memorable seasons in collegiate baseball history, winning nearly every major award this season, including becoming the second-straight Pac-12 student-athlete to claim the Golden Spikes Award and ninth all-time in Pac-12 history, the most for any conference. 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.

UCLA softball recorded the Pac-12’s 13th and final NCAA title of the 2018-19 season. The Pac-12 Conference has historically dominated the sport, claiming 24 NCAA titles in the 38-year history of the championship. Pac-12 teams captured an unprecedented nine in a row from 1988-1997, then claimed six-straight from 2006-11. The Bruins and WASHINGTON shared the Pac-12 crown, earning the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, respectively, in the NCAA Tournament. Five Conference teams earned trips to the NCAA Tournament, the 24th-consecutive year the Pac-12 has had five or more teams advance to the postseason, including at least three berths every year since the league began sponsoring the sport in 1987. The Pac-12 had the most representation in the NCAA Women’s College World Series with the Huskies and ARIZONA joining the Bruins in Oklahoma City. ARIZONA STATE and STANFORD also earned postseason bids. Led by two-time national player of the year Rachel Garcia, UCLA’s appearance in the championship series marked the 30th time at least one Pac-12 team reached the finale.

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 the most recent additions coming in the 2017-18 (women’s lacrosse) and 2015-16 (beach volleyball) academic years. 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.


Golf: Stanford Beach Volleyball: UCLA Skiing: Utah
Gymnastics: Stanford Cross Country: Colorado  
Swimming & Diving: California Rowing: Washington  
Water Polo: USC Softball: UCLA  
  Swimming & Diving: Stanford  
  Tennis: Stanford  
  Volleyball: Stanford  
  Water Polo: Stanford