SAN FRANCISCO - In what was a historic year for league institutions, the Pac-12 Conference ended the 2016-17 campaign with 13 NCAA Championships won, marking the ninth time, including three of the last four years, the Conference has claimed double-digit titles, and the 16th time in the last 17 years the Pac-12 has led the nation in NCAA titles won.
Living up to its well-deserved billing as the "Conference of Champions®,” the Conference’s NCAA Championships came in the form of a record 10 in women’s sports, two in men’s and one combined championship. The 13 titles were one shy of the record 14 the Conference claimed in 1996-97. No other conference has reached double digits in an academic year.
The Pac-12 more than doubled up on the next league’s title count in 2016-17, with Big 12 schools claiming six NCAA titles. SEC programs won five NCAA titles this year, the Big Ten had four and the ACC had three.
Seven Pac-12 member institutions won at least one NCAA Championship in 2016-17, including three that won multiple titles. The Stanford Cardinal tied for the nation’s lead with four NCAA titles, extending its streak of at least one NCAA title to 41 years. In the fall, the Cardinal captured its NCAA-tying seventh national title in women’s volleyball, then won its second-straight men’s soccer title. The women’s swimming and diving squad nabbed its first trophy in the sport in 19 years then wrapped up the academic year with its fifth women’s water polo crown in seven years.
The USC Trojans captured their second-straight beach volleyball crown as well as the second women’s soccer title in program history. The Oregon Ducks had a historic season, becoming the first women’s program ever to win the “Triple Crown” of track & field by claiming the cross country, indoor track & field, and outdoor track & field titles.
The Arizona State Sun Devils won its NCAA-record eighth women’s golf title and the Utah Utes claimed its first skiing crown since 2003 and 11th all-time. The Washington Huskies also recorded a record-setting victory in its title performance at the women’s rowing championship, becoming the first program in the 21-year history of the event to sweep all three grand finals.
This year’s impressive haul of titles adds to the Pac-12’s championship reputation. Conference teams have, by far, claimed the most national championships in the country all-time at 501, nearly 200 more than the next closest league (Big Ten - 309). Only three institutions across all divisions have won at least 100 NCAA titles all-time and all three are Pac-12 members: UCLA with 113, Stanford with 113 and USC with 104. The next closest program is the Big 12’s Oklahoma State, which has won 51 NCAA titles all-time.
The moniker “Conference of Champions®” has been earned by the number of titles, but also the depth of success. Pac-12 teams have won championships in 29 of the 37 Division I sports the NCAA sponsors and has reached double digits in 21 of those sports. The Pac-12 also leads the nation in NCAA titles in 14 NCAA sports.
Overall, the Pac-12 has claimed more NCAA titles in 51 of the last 57 years and finished second five times. It has also claimed at least six titles every year except one since the NCAA began sponsoring women's sports in 1981-82, winning an average of nine NCAA Championships per year.
The Pac-12 is the first conference to 500 national championships!