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Cal head football coach reacts to Pac-12 departures: ‘Really kind of shocking’

Cal head football coach Justin Wilcox called the departure of five schools from the Pac-12 conference "shocking" as the Golden Bears prepare for the 2023 college football season.

Five schools chose to take another path last Friday, leaving the Pac-12 conference with just four remaining universities after the 2023-24 seasons. 

Oregon and Washington announced their decision to join the Big Ten starting in the 2024-25 academic year, while Arizona, Arizona State and Utah will also depart the Pac-12 in the summer of 2024. 

The moves have rocked the Pac-12 Conference, leaving the remaining four schools – Cal, Stanford, Washington State and Oregon State – with uncertain futures. 

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Cal head coach Justin Wilcox, who played at Oregon and coached at Washington and USC, took the disintegration of the conference hard. 

"There's no denying the significance of this," Wilcox told reporters Sunday. "This is as big a deal as it gets to be. This is really kind of shocking. Personally, it's sad." 

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"From what I know, it probably didn't need to come to this, but things happened along the way and really unfortunate," Wilcox continued. "Really unfortunate. So, it's frustrating. There's some anger in there, but right now, what we're focused on is this season."

Wilcox’s comments came a few days after Washington State head coach Jake Dickert weighed in on conference realignment, wondering out loud whether TV money had ruined college football. 

"Not a single player has asked me one time about it. It hasn’t," Dickert told reporters Thursday before the five schools made the decision to leave the conference. "It’s one of those things where we have to control what we can control. It’s amazing to me. The old question, 'How long would it take TV money to destroy college football?' Maybe we’re here. Maybe we’re here. To think even remotely, five years ago, the Pac-12 would be in this position, it’s unthinkable to think that we’re here today."

On Monday, ESPN reported that the ACC is set to have "exploratory discussions" on potentially adding Cal and Stanford. 

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