UCLA Head Coach Blasts Decision-Makers For Schools Like USC, Washington, And Oregon For ‘Screwing Up’ Pac-12

UCLA head coach Chip Kelly fully believes head coaches and administrators at schools like USC, Oregon, Washington, and others are totally to blame for the likely end of the Pac-12 conference.

On Saturday, the UCLA football program brought its run in the legendary Pac-12 conference to an end with a 35-22 victory over Boise State. Their final games in their long-time home also came just a week after Washington and Oregon took part in what is believed to be the conference’s final championship game.

Related: 2024 UCLA Bruins Transfer Portal Tracker

Schools like UCLA and USC competing in a league other than the Pac-12 is a strange concept for many long-time college sports fans since the two universities have been pillars of the conference for as long as it’s existed. However, they were also the ones who began what would eventually be a mass exodus this year of programs that took their brands to the Big 10 and Big 12 starting in 2024.

Before their game on Saturday, the Bruins head football coach blamed himself, other coaches in the conferences, and top administrators from the departing schools for what could be the eventual death of a conference that has existed for over 100 years.

“It’s sad. A bunch of people couldn’t figure out how to keep this conference together, and that’s sad,” Kelly said. “This conference has been together since 1915. We’re supposed to be the smart ones. I heard [Iowa head coach] Kirk Ferentz talk in front of Congress when they were talking about realignment, and he said, ‘We have to be the dumbest people in the world.’

“This is an amazing game, and we keep trying to screw it up. I’m talking about the administrators and coaches. It’s on us. … Our job is to create opportunities for student-athletes to be successful. We didn’t do it.”

How UCLA helped begin the mass exodus from the Pac-12

ucla, usc, pac-12
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA and USC were the first teams to officially announce their intentions to leave the conference in 2022. Earlier this year, eight more schools — including Washington, Oregon, and Colorado — passed on a media rights deal with Apple TV and then revealed their plans to play elsewhere next year.

Now the only teams left in the conference are Washington State and Oregon State. In the summer they filed an injunction to block the 10 departing from serving on the conference’s board and recently were awarded control of the Pac-12 brand going forward.

The plan is to hopefully save the Pac-12 and the two remaining schools have an agreement to compete against Mountain West schools for their 2024 schedule.