SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
USC’s first competition in track and field was in 1893, the first annual field day meet of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Association (SCIAA). It can be debated whether or not this governing body be considered a ‘conference,’ so for our purposes here we will choose to recognize this association as a conference. Member schools were Chaffey, Occidental, Pomona, and USC.
Eligibility guidelines were established as a student taking at least 10 hours a week of regular recitation or lecture work for at least 3 months before the field day meet with the intention “to pursue the same for the remainder of the year.”
The SCIAA conducted a field day meet from 1893 to 1898. No meet was held in 1899 as there were disagreements between Pomona College and USC.
After 1899 it is difficult to follow the complete role of the SCIAA’s governance in track and field as it garnered little mention in the news of the time. We’re speaking of a time window of 1900 to 1925. (1926 being USC’s first appearance in the Pacific Coast Conference Meet)
Based on newspaper reporting, conference meets were labeled as such in 1909, 1910, 1911, 1913, 1914 and 1915. A meet in 1922 was called a Championship of Southern California, but no mention of conference affiliation was made. Which brings us to…
PACIFIC COAST CONFERENCE
The Pacific Coast Conference (PCC) was founded at a meeting in Portland, Ore in 1915. The original membership consisted of four schools – the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Washington, the University of Oregon, and Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State University). All are still charter members of the Conference.
Pacific Coast Conference competition began in 1916 and, one year later, Washington State College (now Washington State University) was accepted into the league, with Stanford University following in 1918.
In 1922, the PCC expanded to eight teams with the admission of the USC and the University of Idaho. In 1924, the University of Montana joined the league roster, and in 1928, the PCC grew to 10 members with the addition of UCLA.
The Pacific Coast Conference competed as a 10-member league until 1950 when Montana resigned from the Conference and the PCC continued as a nine-team Conference through 1958. (World War II curtailed intercollegiate athletic competition to a minimum from 1943-45)
In 1959, the PCC was dissolved and the Athletic Association of Western Universities was formed. The original AAWU members were California, Stanford, USC, UCLA and Washington (colloquially called the Big Five). Washington State joined the membership in 1962 (and now the Big Six), while Oregon and Oregon State joined in 1964. Unofficially calling itself as the Pacific Athletic Conference (or PAC-8), the AAWU formally renamed itself the Pacific-8 Conference (PAC-8) in 1968.
In 1978, University of Arizona and Arizona State University were admitted to the league becoming the Pacific-10 Conference (PAC-10). In 1986-87, the league expanded to include 10 women’s sports.*
In June of 2010, the Pac-10 became the Pac-12 with the addition of the University of Colorado and the University of Utah.
*In 1975 there was a women’s championship track meet involving at least 8 schools (Long Beach St., Cal. St. LA, Cal. St. Northridge, Cal Poly SLO, Redlands, San Diego St., UCLA, USC), the Southern California Women’s Intercollegiate Track Championships. Nothing could be found to indicate a conference affiliation with this meet.
In 1976 official conference affiliation for the women began with the founding of the Western Collegiate Athletic Association (WCAA). Charter members were Arizona, Arizona State, Cal. St. Fullerton, Long Beach State, San Diego State, UCLA, and USC.
This conference functioned until 1985 when it was renamed the Pacific West (PacWest) Conference for a one (final) academic year (1985–86). In the summer of 1986, the PacWest and the Northern Pacific Conferences were retired and united and brought into the PAC-10 when the PAC-10 added women’s sports to the conference.
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