Pac-12 softball players for Oregon and Washington.
Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images (left), Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images (right)

Pac-12 Softball Players Are Pissed Off Over Conference Shake-Up: 'An Upsetting Day'

The Pac-12 is crumbling before our eyes, but it's not just affecting college football. Softball players are speaking out in opposition.

The crumbling of the Pac-12 has left shockwaves around college athletics, but not just in college football.

With Oregon, Washington, USC and UCLA heading for the Big Ten, plus Utah, Arizona and Arizona State heading to the Big 12, that will leave the conference out west with just four schools. The most recent proverbial nail in the coffin doesn't just mean the end for Pac-12 football as we know it, but Pac-12 softball — the most successful softball conference in history — as well.

What isn't being talked about, though, is how these moves will affect softball players at schools like Oregon and Washington. Many of these girls are livid and speaking out because issues like traveling for games become much more complicated, affecting athletes' mental health. Here's what they're saying:

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Paige Sinicki, a junior infielder for Oregon, complained about how the Ducks will have to travel as far as Rutgers to play, which is nearly 3,000 miles from Eugene.

Morgan Scott, a fifth-year pitcher for Oregon who transferred to the school last year, spoke about the mental toll that traveling such distances will have. Many of these athletes fly commercial, which means they'll have to deal with delays and what not while also juggling schooling.

"Anyone going to talk about all the other sports that play multiple games in a weekend? What happened to mental health of student athletes being important? The balance of practice, travel, school, and having a social life is already hard enough. Why add even more stress?" she wrote on Twitter.

Shannon Cunningham, a sophomore catcher for Arizona State, also spoke to the fact that her family wouldn't be able to watch her play as much. Cunningham is from California, where many of the Pac-12 schools are located.

As it stands, the Pac-12 will have just three softball programs for the 2024-25 season — Stanford, Cal and Oregon State. Washington State currently has no softball program.

It's a sad day because the Pac-12 is rich in softball history. The conference has won 24 of the 40 NCAA national championships and produced legends like Arizona's Jennie Finch, Washington's Danielle Lawrie, UCLA's Rachel Garcia, Lisa Fernandez and Dot Richardson, plus Stanford's Jessica Mendoza, just to name a few.

While the Oklahoma-led Big 12 has dominated the sport of late, it still doesn't nearly stack up with the pedigree of the Pac-12 throughout history.

The Pac-12 released a statement on Friday, calling the news of its member schools leaving "incredibly disappointing."

And this is just college softball. Who knows what these conference moves mean for other smaller sports, especially for women's sports?

Only time will tell how this will all play out, but it doesn't look good for Pac-12 softball players right now.

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