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Oregon to the Big 12? Nike's Role in Conference Realignment

Phil Knight wants Oregon out of the Pac-12 amidst conference realignment.

With USC and UCLA announcing a move to the Big Ten, the future of the Pac-12 is uncertain, and Oregon remains arguably the biggest player left in the Pac-12 following this move.

The Ducks have been at the forefront of college athletics in large part thanks to Nike founder Phil Knight. Knight wants Oregon in either the SEC or the Big Ten if given those options, according to John Canzano.

Knight is the largest supporter of Oregon athletics and has helped establish the Ducks as a premier athletic program through breathtaking facility upgrades and NIL opportunities. He will not sit back and watch other schools fortify their future in the new conferences while Oregon is left behind.

The Big 12 has been an active player in realignment since Texas and Oklahoma announced their departures from the conference last summer. The Big 12 quickly added Houston, UCF, Cincinnati, and BYU to stabilize the conference for the near future.

When USC and UCLA announced their departure from the Pac-12, the Big 12 saw that as an opportunity to poach other schools in the Pac-12 that may be looking for new homes.

Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah are the primary schools being targeted by the Big 12 as possible new additions to the conference, with Oregon and Washington also under consideration, per CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd.

Oregon will not join the Big 12 if Phil Knight has any say in deliberations. The SEC and the Big Ten are the two most desired conferences for any school given their enormous media rights deals and their security in the future of college athletics.

The landscape of college athletics seems to be shifting by the day amidst conference realignment, and Oregon may be the next big domino to fall. 

You can find Michael Gresser on Twitter @gresser_michael

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