Realignment in Reverse: A Look at Conferences’ Original Rosters

Each day brings new rumors about schools that are prepared to leave one conference or accept an invitation from another. And while no school has moved yet this year (the SEC invitation to Texas A&M is still pending), there is no lack of speculation about what might happen.

At this time, when everyone is looking ahead to 16-team superconferences and/or conferences that are geographically abhorrent and make no effort to preserve traditional rivalries, let’s look back at where these conferences started and where they have come.

Click on the links below to jump to a conference:

Big Ten
SEC
Pac-12
Big Eight
Southwest Conference
WAC
ACC
Big East
Conference USA

Big Ten Conference

Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives (better known as the Western Conference), original roster, 1896

School
Current Conference
University of Chicago UAA (Division III)
Illinois Big Ten
Michigan Big Ten
Minnesota Big Ten
Northwestern Big Ten
Purdue Big Ten
Wisconsin Big Ten

Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives (better known as the Big Nine), 1899

School
Current Conference
University of Chicago UAA (Division III)
Illinois Big Ten
Indiana Big Ten
Iowa Big Ten
Michigan Big Ten
Minnesota Big Ten
Northwestern Big Ten
Purdue Big Ten
Wisconsin Big Ten

Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives (better known as the Big Ten), 1917

School
Current Conference
University of Chicago UAA (Division III)
Illinois Big Ten
Indiana Big Ten
Iowa Big Ten
Michigan Big Ten
Minnesota Big Ten
Northwestern Big Ten
Ohio State Big Ten
Purdue Big Ten
Wisconsin Big Ten

Michigan left in 1908, but rejoined in 1917. Ohio State joined in 1912.

Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives (better known as the Big Ten), 1950

School
Current Conference
Illinois Big Ten
Indiana Big Ten
Iowa Big Ten
Michigan Big Ten
Michigan State Big Ten
Minnesota Big Ten
Northwestern Big Ten
Ohio State Big Ten
Purdue Big Ten
Wisconsin Big Ten

Chicago left in 1946. Michigan State joined in 1950. This roster would remain unchanged until 1990, when Penn State joined the league. (Penn State did not begin play in the Big Ten until 1992.) In 1987 the conference officially changed its name to the Big Ten.

Southeastern Conference

In 1932, 13 members of the Southern Conference broke away to establish the new Southeastern Conference. At that time the Southern Conference included the following schools (23 in all): Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Duke, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, LSU, Maryland, Mississippi, Mississippi State, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Sewanee, South Carolina, Tennessee, Tulane, Vanderbilt, Virginia, VMI, Virginia Tech, and Washington & Lee.


Southeastern Conference, original roster, 1932

School
Current Conference
Alabama SEC
Auburn SEC
Florida SEC
Georgia SEC
Georgia Tech ACC
Kentucky SEC
LSU SEC
Mississippi SEC
Mississippi State SEC
Sewanee SCAC (Division III)
Tennessee SEC
Tulane Conference USA
Vanderbilt SEC

Southeastern Conference, 1967

School
Current Conference
Alabama SEC
Auburn SEC
Florida SEC
Georgia SEC
Kentucky SEC
LSU SEC
Mississippi SEC
Mississippi State SEC
Tennessee SEC
Vanderbilt SEC

Sewanee left in 1940; Georgia Tech in 1964; and Tulane in 1966. This roster would remain unchanged until Arkansas and South Carolina joined the league in 1991.

Pacific-12 Conference

Pacific Coast Conference, original roster, 1915

School
Current Conference
California Pac-12
Oregon Pac-12
Oregon State Pac-12
Washington Pac-12


Pacific Coast Conference, 1928

School
Current Conference
California Pac-12
UCLA Pac-12
Idaho WAC
Montana Big Sky
Oregon Pac-12
Oregon State Pac-12
USC Pac-12
Stanford Pac-12
Washington Pac-12
Washington State Pac-12

Washington State joined the PCC in 1917; Stanford in 1918; USC and Idaho in 1922; Montana in 1924; and UCLA in 1928.

Athletic Association of Western Universities, original roster, 1959
The PCC disbanded in 1959. Five of its member institutions formed a new conference, the AAWU, also known as the Big Five.

School
Current Conference
California Pac-12
UCLA Pac-12
USC Pac-12
Stanford Pac-12
Washington Pac-12

Pacific-8 Conference, 1968

School
Current Conference
California Pac-12
UCLA Pac-12
Oregon Pac-12
Oregon State Pac-12
USC Pac-12
Stanford Pac-12
Washington Pac-12
Washington State Pac-12

Washington State joined the AAWU in 1962; the Oregon schools joined in 1964. In 1968 the league formally changed its name to the Pacific-8 Conference.

Pacific-10 Conference, 1978

School
Current Conference
Arizona Pac-12
Arizona State Pac-12
California Pac-12
UCLA Pac-12
Oregon Pac-12
Oregon State Pac-12
USC Pac-12
Stanford Pac-12
Washington Pac-12
Washington State Pac-12

The Arizona schools joined in 1978, and the Pac-8 became the Pac-10. This roster would not change again until Colorado and Utah joined the league this year.

Big 8 Conference

The history of the Big 8 officially ended with the creation of the Big XII conference in 1996.
Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association, original roster, 1907

School
Current Conference
Iowa Big Ten
Kansas Big XII
Missouri Big XII
Nebraska Big Ten
Washington University (St. Louis) UAA (Division III)

Iowa was a member of both the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association and the Big Ten during this time.

Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association, 1925

School
Current Conference
Drake MVC/Pioneer League for football
Grinnell Midwest Conference (Division III)
Iowa State Big XII
Kansas Big XII
Kansas State Big XII
Missouri Big XII
Nebraska Big Ten
Oklahoma Big XII
Oklahoma A&M (Oklahoma State) Big XII
Washington University (St. Louis) UAA (Division III)

Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association, better known as the Big Six, 1928

School
Current Conference
Iowa State Big XII
Kansas Big XII
Kansas State Big XII
Missouri Big XII
Nebraska Big Ten
Oklahoma Big XII

The private schools, along with Oklahoma A&M, left in 1928 to form the Missouri Valley Conference.

Big Eight Conference, 1964

School
Current Conference
Colorado Pac-12
Iowa State Big XII
Kansas Big XII
Kansas State Big XII
Missouri Big XII
Nebraska Big Ten
Oklahoma Big XII
Oklahoma State Big XII

Colorado joined in 1948, and the conference became known as the Big Seven. Oklahoma State rejoined the league in 1958. In 1964 the conference formally changed its name to the Big Eight. This roster and name would remain until the formation of the Big XII Conference in 1996.

Southwest Conference

Southwest Conference, original roster, 1915

School
Current Conference
Arkansas SEC
Baylor Big XII
Oklahoma Big XII
Oklahoma A&M (Oklahoma State) Big XII
Rice Conference USA
Southwestern SCAC (Division III)
Texas Big XII
Texas A&M Big XII (for now)

Southwest Conference, 1926

School
Current Conference
Arkansas SEC
Baylor Big XII
Rice Conference USA
SMU Conference USA
Texas Big XII
Texas A&M Big XII (for now)
TCU Mountain West (Big East next year)

Southwestern left in 1916, Oklahoma in 1919, and Oklahoma A&M in 1925. SMU joined in 1918, TCU in 1923.

Southwest Conference, 1971

School
Current Conference
Arkansas SEC
Baylor Big XII
Houston Conference USA
Rice Conference USA
SMU Conference USA
Texas Big XII
Texas A&M Big XII (for now)
TCU Mountain West (Big East next year)
Texas Tech Big XII

Texas Tech joined in 1956, Houston in 1971. This roster would be stable until Arkansas left for the SEC in 1991. In 1996 Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech joined with the Big 8 schools to form the Big XII. Rice, SMU, and TCU joined the WAC. Houston became a founding member of Conference USA.

Western Athletic Conference

Western Athletic Conference, original roster, 1962

School
Current Conference
Arizona Pac-12
Arizona State Pac-12
BYU Independent/WCC
New Mexico Mountain West
Utah Pac-12
Wyoming Mountain West

Western Athletic Conference, 1980

School
Current Conference
Air Force Mountain West
Hawaii WAC (Mountain West/Big West next year)
BYU Independent/WCC
Colorado State Mountain West
New Mexico Mountain West
San Diego State Mountain West
UTEP Conference USA
Utah Pac-12
Wyoming Mountain West

UTEP and Colorado State joined in 1967. The Arizona schools left to be part of the Pac-10 in 1978. The WAC replaced them with San Diego State (1978), Air Force (1979), and Hawaii (1980).

Western Athletic Conference, 1996

School
Current Conference
Air Force Mountain West
Hawaii WAC (Mountain West/Big West next year)
BYU Independent/WCC
Colorado State Mountain West
Fresno State WAC (Mountain West next year)
UNLV Mountain West
New Mexico Mountain West
Rice Conference USA
San Diego State Mountain West
San Jose State WAC
SMU Conference USA
TCU Mountain West (Big East next year)
UTEP Conference USA
Tulsa Conference USA
Utah Pac-12
Wyoming Mountain West

Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, UNLV, New Mexico, San Diego State, Utah, and Wyoming left in 1999 to form the Mountain West Conference. The WAC’s roster has been unstable ever since. Notice that, by next year, the only team from the 1996 roster that will still be in the conference is San Jose State.

Atlantic Coast Conference

Atlantic Coast Conference, original roster, 1953

School
Current Conference
Clemson ACC
Duke ACC
Maryland ACC
North Carolina ACC
North Carolina State ACC
South Carolina SEC
Virginia ACC
Wake Forest ACC

The ACC hasn’t changed much in its 58 years as a conference. South Carolina left in 1971 and was replaced by Georgia Tech in 1978. Florida State joined in 1991. The ACC added Miami and Virginia Tech in 2004, followed by Boston College in 2005.

Big East Conference (Football Only)

Big East Conference football members, original roster, 1991

School
Current Conference
Boston College ACC
Miami ACC
Pittsburgh Big East
Rutgers Big East
Syracuse Big East
Temple MAC (football only)
Virginia Tech ACC
West Virginia Big East

The Big East didn’t sponsor football until 1991. At the time Boston College, Pittsburgh, and Syracuse were the only Big East schools with Division I-A football programs. The other five schools were new to the conference. Temple, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia joined as football-only members. The Big East dropped Temple in 2004, the same year UConn was eligible to become a football member and Miami and Virginia Tech left for the ACC. In 2005, when Boston College left, the Big East added Cincinnati, Louisville, and South Florida from Conference USA. TCU will join next year.

Conference USA

Conference USA football members, original roster, 1996

School
Current Conference
Cincinnati Big East
Houston Conference USA
Louisville Big East
Memphis Conference USA
Southern Mississippi Conference USA
Tulane Conference USA

Conference USA was established in 1995 but didn’t sponsor football until 1996, when Houston joined. (Houston was a founding member of Conference USA but had to play out the 1995-1996 season in the Southwest Conference before joining. The other members were football independents before 1996.) East Carolina joined as a football-only member in 1997; Army in 1998.  UAB and South Florida were founding members of Conference USA, but were not admitted as football members until 1999 and 2003, respectively. TCU joined in 2001. Army left in 2004; TCU left in 2005, the same year several other schools left for the Big East. That year Conference USA added UCF, Marshall, Rice, SMU, UTEP, and Tulsa. The league has been stable ever since.

 

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Josh Tinley is the author of Kneeling in the End Zone: Spiritual Lessons From the World of Sports. Follow him at twitter.com/joshtinley or send him an e-mail.



About Josh Tinley

Josh Tinley writes the Away From The Action column at Midwest Sports Fans, covering all aspects of sport aside from what actually happens on the field, court, or track. Josh grew up in Indianapolis and graduated from the University of Evansville and Vanderbilt Divinity School. He is the author of Kneeling in the End Zone: Spiritual Lessons From the World of Sports and the managing editor of LinC, a weekly curriculum for teens that explores the intersection of faith and culture. Josh lives outside Nashville with his wife, Ashlee, and children, Meyer (7), Resha Kate (5), and Malachi (3). He will not allow himself to die before the Evansville Purple Aces make another trip to the NCAA Tournament. Follow him on Twitter @joshtinley or send him an e-mail.

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