Aug 17, 2023 - Sports

No love for the Oregon Ducks' move to the Big Ten

A person dressed up as a furry brown beaver mascot, wearing orange jersey and shorts,  in a photo to the left of a picture of a person dressed up as a white duck, wearing a green jersey with the University of Oregon letter O in yellow on the front.

"What about us?" asks Benny the Beaver. "Well, we gotta go now," The Duck replies. Photos: Ethan Miller/Getty, from the 2022 Pac-12 basketball tournament

You've spoken, and you're disappointed.

Driving the news: In our decidedly unscientific online poll, the vast majority of you — 87% — say you're unhappy with the University of Oregon's decision to join the Big Ten athletic conference, which leaves Oregon State in the Pac-12 with just three teams to play.

  • We counted in the unhappy camp reactions like "angry," "absolutely desolate," and "disgusted" — the word used most frequently — along with "disappointed," the word we offered in the poll.
  • The poll received 108 responses.

Zoom in: Along fan lines, Beaver boosters are more unhappy than Duck supporters.

  • 97% of self-identified OSU fans feel negative about the move, compared to 76% of UO fans.

State of play: People worry about the loss of the local sports community, and extensive travel hurting athletes as well as adding to the Earth's carbon load. Some also cited the potential that OSU's athletic program, including its new stadium, will need a taxpayer infusion.

  • "Geography and tradition lose. Sad!" one respondent wrote.

The other side: Supporters of the move cited reasons like true national competition at the college level and more visibility for the University of Oregon and its athletes. Plus, potentially more money for smaller sports trickling down from the lucrative Big Ten football and basketball TV deals.

  • "Bring it!" wrote a fan of the Ohio Buckeyes, who are also in the Big Ten.

Meanwhile, a new league for OSU may be underway. Athletic director Scott Barnes says that the school is committed to rebuilding the Pac-12 by attracting more schools to the conference.

  • He told The Oregonian on Wednesday that an agreement to stick with the Pac-12 and rebuild with the other teams could be days away.

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