20.Feb.2012 Pac History
Enjoyed this comment by Jack so much I found it worthy of its own post.
The Oregon schools and Idaho (and Montana?) left the league in 1959 because of the pay for play scandal. Only Stanford re-formed the league with those schools right off the bat because they had nobody else to form with when the league started up again. OSU was actually the premier athletic school on the West Coast during that period with the first Heisman west of the Mississippi and a Final Four run. The league tried for more than a couple years to woo us back into the fold of a league that began in Portland. The stigma of the scandal and the schools involved was enough to keep us at bay for a good three or four years more than we should have stayed away. And I’m not sure that culture ever really abated at UW or USC. They just got better at hiding it.
We’re talking a scandal that made SMU look like patty-cakes.
It’s a fascinating period in fact. Wazzu came back in 1962 because UW was stuck in the scandal-ridden group of four (UW, Cal, UCLA and USC). And Wazzu and UW are joined at the hip for all intents and purposes. OSU wasn’t going to return because the group of four felt that Nikegon was responsible for the scandal turning those four upside down. Oregon was caught in 1951 doing the same thing, and they insisted that the conference look at the rest of the league because they claimed “but everyone else is doing it.”
And Stanford was constantly arguing that UCLA should be expelled and OSU included instead since UCLA was the worst of them all.
But OSU would not return without UO. So the league finally gave in and buried the hatchet for a new start. I know some USC alums of that era who tell me that OSU’s Rose Bowl in 1965 was a gift apparently tied to this whole agreement.
That was just a shady period in the league. If not for regional ties, the Pac might have a vastly different make-up today.