Pacific Coast Conference

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Pacific Coast Conference
(PCC)
Established 1915
Dissolved 1959
Association NCAA
Members 9 (final), 10 (total)
Region Pacific Coast, Mountain States
Locations
Pacific Coast Conference locations

The Pacific Coast Conference (PCC) was a college athletic conference in the United States which existed from 1915 to 1959. Though the Pacific-12 Conference (Pac-12) claims the PCC's history as part of its own, the older league had a completely different charter and was disbanded in 1959 due to a major crisis and scandal. The name Pacific Coast Conference is now used by a San Diego area community college league established in 1982.[1]

Established on December 2, 1915,[2] its charter members were the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Washington, the University of Oregon, and Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State University).

Conference members[edit]

Membership timeline[edit]

University of California, Los Angeles University of Montana University of Idaho University of Southern California Stanford University Washington State University Oregon State University University of Oregon University of Washington University of California, Berkeley

 Full members 

Before the crisis[edit]

Many people think of the Pac-12 today as a collection of six regional rivalries, but this fails to take into account the other campus animosities and state rivalries which defined the Pacific Coast Conference. There were tensions between California and the Northwest schools. Edwin Pauley, a regent of the University of California, disliked the member universities in the Pacific Northwest and advocated that the California institutions leave the Pacific Coast Conference to form a "California Conference." Among other complaints, he disdained the quality of education in the Oregon and Washington schools. Pauley felt that University of California campuses deserved to play against colleges with comparably high academic standards.

The PCC had a history of being very strict with regards to its standards; it suspended the University of Southern California from the conference in 1924, performed a critical self-study in 1932, and a voluminous report was compiled by Edwin Atherton in 1939. The PCC had a paid commissioner, an elaborate constitution, a formal code of conduct, and a system for reporting student-athlete eligibility.

Despite this, the conference was wracked by scandal in 1951. Charges were made and confirmed that University of Oregon football coach Jim Aiken had violated the conference code for financial aid and athletic subsidies. After Aiken was compelled to resign, Oregon urged the PCC to look at similar abuses by UCLA football coach Red Sanders. The conference spent five years attempting to reform itself. In 1956, the scandal became public.

The crisis[edit]

The scandal first broke in Washington, when in January 1956, several discontented players staged a mutiny against their coach, John Cherberg. After the coach was fired, the PCC followed up on charges of a slush fund. The PCC found evidence of the illegal activities of the Greater Washington Advertising Fund run by Roscoe C. "Torchy" Torrance, and in May imposed sanctions.

In March, allegations of illegal payments made by two booster clubs associated with UCLA, the Bruin Bench and the Young Men's Club of Westwood, were published in Los Angeles newspapers. UCLA refused for ten weeks to allow PCC officials to proceed in their investigation. Finally, UCLA admitted that, "all members of the football coaching staff had, for several years, known of the unsanctioned payments to student athletes and had cooperated with the booster club members or officers, who actually administered the program by actually referring student athletes to them for such aid." The scandal thickened as a UCLA alumnus and member of the UCLA athletic advisory board blew the whistle on a secret fund for illegal payments to Southern California players, known as the Southern California Educational Foundation. This same alumnus also blew the whistle on Cal's phony work program for athletes known as the San Francisco Gridiron Club, with an extension in the Los Angeles area known as the South Seas Fund.

Aftershocks and disbandment[edit]

The first major reaction came from the University of California system. Robert Sproul, president of the University of California, along with the chancellors of Berkeley and UCLA, drafted a "Five Point Plan", emphasizing academic eligibility standards, setting the two UC campuses apart from the PCC and laying the groundwork for their departure. For Sproul the PCC dispute was not just about athletics; at stake was the ideal of a unified University of California that enjoyed statewide support. This ideal collided with aspirations of UCLA alumni who believed that Sproul's vision would always favor the Berkeley campus at the expense of the younger UCLA campus.

Oregon State College president August Leroy Strand wrote, "The reasons for California and UCLA dropping out are as different as night and day... the significance of the whole affair was the union of Berkeley and UCLA... admissions and scholarship had nothing to do with the withdrawals . . . the marriage of this desire on the part of Berkeley with the known ambitions and necessities of its sister institution has produced a bastard that has the bard of a purebred but the innards and hair of a mongrel."

By 1957 the conference had fallen apart, leading to the decision to dissolve in 1959. Soon after the PCC was dissolved, five of its former members (California, Washington, UCLA, Southern California, and Stanford) created the Athletic Association of Western Universities. This new conference negotiated an agreement with the Tournament of Roses to send its champion to the Rose Bowl Game which effective with the 1961 Rose Bowl. After initially being blocked from admission, three of the four remaining schools would eventually join (Washington State in 1962, Oregon and Oregon State in 1964), but members were not required to play other members. Tensions were high between UCLA and Stanford, as Stanford had voted for UCLA's expulsion from the PCC.

Idaho, which was not involved in the scandals but had become noncompetitive in the PCC, was also barred from AAWU admittance in 1959. Unlike Washington State, Oregon and Oregon State, Idaho did not pursue AAWU admission, and competed as an independent before becoming a charter member of the Big Sky Conference in 1963. Idaho retains no strong connections to its PCC past, other than a continuing rivalry with neighboring Washington State; the two land grant campuses are just eight miles (13 km) apart on the Palouse.

The AAWU eventually strengthened its bonds and became the Pacific-8 Conference (Pac-8), renaming itself in 1968. By 1971, most Pac-8 schools played round-robin conference football schedules, and the two Oregon schools were again playing USC and UCLA on a regular basis. The conference added WAC powers Arizona and Arizona State in 1978 and became the Pacific-10 Conference (Pac-10). On July 1, 2011, the conference added Colorado from the Big 12 and Utah from the Mountain West (also a former WAC member) and became the Pac-12. The Pac-12 claims the PCC's history as its own, though it operates under a separate charter.

Conference champions[edit]

The official record book of conference champions was compiled by the then acting commissioner Bernie Hammerbeck in 1959.[3]

Men's basketball[edit]

The Pacific Coast Conference began playing basketball in the 1915-16 season. The PCC was split into North and South Divisions for basketball beginning with the 1922-23 season. The winners of the two divisions would play a best of three series of games to determine the PCC basketball champion. If two division teams tied, they would have a one game playoff to produce the division representative. Starting with the first NCAA Men's Basketball Championship in 1939, the winner of the PCC divisional playoff was given the automatic berth in the NCAA tournament. Oregon, the 1939 PCC champion, won the championship game in the 1939 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.

The last divisional playoff was in the 1954-55 season. After that, there was no divisional play and all teams played each other in a round robin competition. From the 1955-56 season through the 1958-59 season, the regular season conference champion was awarded the NCAA tournament berth from the PCC. In the case of a tie, a tie breaker rule was used to determine the NCAA tournament representative.

Season Conference Champion (#) Tournament Champion (#)
1915-16 California (1)
Oregon State (1)
1916-17 Washington State (1)
1918-19 Oregon (1)
1919-20 Stanford (1)
1920-21 California (2)
Stanford (2)
1921-22 Idaho (1)
1922-23 Idaho (2)
1923-24 California (3)
1924-25 California (4)
1925-26 California (5)
1926-27 California (6)
1927-28 USC (1)
1928-29 California (7)
1929-30 USC (2)
1930-31 Washington (1)
1931-32 California (8)
1932-33 Oregon State (2)
1933-34 Washington (2)
1934-35 USC (3)
1935-36 Stanford (3)
1936-37 Stanford (4)
1937-38 Stanford (5)
1938-39 Oregon (2)
1939-40 USC (4)
1940-41 Washington State (2)
1941-42 Stanford (6)
1942-43 Washington (3)
1943-44 California (9)
Washington (4)
1944-45 Oregon (3)
UCLA (1)
1945-46 California (10)
1946-47 Oregon State (3)
1947-48 Washington (5)
1948-49 Oregon State (4)
1949-50 UCLA (2)
1950-51 Washington (6)
1951-52 UCLA (3)
1952-53 Washington (7)
1953-54 USC (5)
1954-55 Oregon State (5)
1955-56 UCLA (4)
1956-57 California (11)
1957-58 California (12)
Oregon State (6)
1958-59 California (13)
  • Bold indicates National Champion

Football[edit]

Conf Ovrl
Year Conference Champion (#) W L T Pts Opp W L T
1916 *Oregon (1) 2 0 1 33 20 6 0 1
Washington (1) 3 0 1 62 10 6 0 1
1917 Washington State (1) 3 0 0 46 3 6 0 0
1918 California (1) 2 0 0 72 0 7 2 0
1919 *Oregon (2) 2 1 0 33 20 5 1 3
Washington (2) 2 1 0 33 31 5 1 0
1920 California (2) 3 0 0 104 7 9 0 0
1921 California (3) 4 0 0 167 10 9 0 1
1922 California (4) 4 0 0 146 7 9 0 0
1923 California (5) 5 0 0 66 7 9 0 1
1924 Stanford (1) 3 0 1 92 36 7 1 1
1925 Washington (3) 5 0 0 88 24 10 1 1
1926 Stanford (2) 4 0 0 112 40 10 0 1
1927 *Stanford (3) 4 0 1 78 32 8 2 1
USC (1) 4 0 1 99 38 8 1 1
1928 USC (2) 4 0 1 84 20 9 0 1
1929 USC (3) 6 1 0 258 29 10 2 0
1930 Washington State (2) 6 0 0 134 20 9 1 0
1931 USC (4) 7 0 0 259 13 10 1 0
1932 USC (5) 6 0 0 112 13 10 0 0
1933 Oregon (3) 4 1 0 45 29 9 1 0
*Stanford (4) 4 1 0 56 23 8 2 1
1934 Stanford (5) 5 0 0 93 7 9 1 1
1935 California (6) 4 1 0 55 22 9 1 0
*Stanford (6) 4 1 0 60 7 8 1 0
UCLA (1) 4 1 0 75 39 8 2 0
1936 Washington (4) 7 0 1 141 21 7 2 1
1937 California (7) 6 0 1 137 26 10 0 1
1938 California (8) 6 1 0 107 37 10 1 0
*USC (6) 6 1 0 131 36 9 2 0
1939 USC (7) 5 0 2 121 21 8 0 2
1940 Stanford (7) 7 0 0 141 66 10 0 0
1941 Oregon State (1) 7 2 0 123 33 8 2 0
1942 UCLA (2) 6 1 0 146 58 7 4 0
1943 USC (8) 5 0 0 95 13 8 2 0
1944 USC (9) 3 0 2 129 39 8 0 2
1945 USC (10) 5 1 0 107 43 7 4 0
1946 UCLA (3) 7 0 0 216 45 10 1 0
1947 USC (11) 6 0 0 147 20 7 2 1
1948 *California (9) 6 0 0 155 40 10 1 0
Oregon (4) 7 0 0 125 48 9 2 0
1949 California (10) 7 0 0 220 80 10 1 0
1950 California (11) 5 0 1 124 28 9 1 1
1951 Stanford (8) 6 1 0 152 101 9 2 0
1952 USC (12) 6 0 0 174 32 10 1 0
1953 UCLA (4) 6 1 0 172 41 8 2 0
1954 UCLA (5) 6 0 0 256 26 9 0 0
1955 UCLA (6) 6 0 0 197 37 9 2 0
1956 Oregon State (2) 6 1 1 152 104 7 3 1
1957 *Oregon (5) 6 2 0 124 81 7 4 0
Oregon State (3) 6 2 0 147 110 8 2 0
1958 California (12) 6 1 0 127 85 7 4 0

* Denotes PCC representative in Rose Bowl for shared conference championships

  • Bold Denotes National Champion recognition

Baseball[edit]

Season Conference
1916 CAL
1917 CAL
1918 ORE
1919 WASH
1920 CAL
1921 CAL
1922 WASH
Season North South
1923 WASH CAL
Season Conference
1924 CAL
Season North South
1925 WASH STAN
1926 WASH CAL
Season North CIBA
1927 WSU STM
1928 ORE/WSU STM
1929 WASH CAL
1930 WASH USC
1931 WASH STAN
1932 WASH USC
1933 WSU CAL
1934 ORE CAL
1935 ORE CAL/USC
1936 WSU USC
1937 ORE CAL
1938 OSU/WSU CAL
1939 ORE USC/STM
1940 OSU STM
1941 ORE CAL/STM
1942 ORE USC
1943 ORE **CAL/USC
1944 WSU UCLA
1945 WSU CAL
1946 ORE USC
1947 WSU CAL/USC
1948 WSU USC*
1949 WSU USC*
1950 WSU* STAN
1951 OSU USC*
1952 OSU* USC
1953 ORE STAN*
1954 ORE* USC
1955 ORE USC*
1956 WSU* USC
1957 ORE CAL*/USC
1958 OSU USC*
1959 WASH USC*

*denotes Pacific Coast Conference playoff champion
**California won the CIBA Division 1 and USC won CIBA Division 2. California won the whole division title by beating USC in the CIBA playoff

  • Bold indicates National Champion

Commissioners[edit]

  • Edwin N. Atherton 1940-1944
  • Victor O. Schmidt 1944-1959
  • Bernie Hammerbeck (acting) 1959

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Games Colleges Play : Scandal and Reform in Intercollegiate Athletics, The Johns Hopkins University Press 1996, ISBN 0-8018-4716-8
  1. ^ New PCC history
  2. ^ (Portland) Oregon Daily Journal. December 3, 1915. "Four Colleges Form Coast Conference at Very Secret Session"
  3. ^ "When the Pacific Coast Conference was dissolved". Eugene Register-Guard. 2 March 1960. Retrieved 13 October 2013.