As the Pac-12 conference crumbles, the future for Oregon State and Washington State looks uncertain. With the recent departures of Stanford and Cal to the ACC, the once-thriving conference is now reduced to just two teams.
- Not long ago, the Pac-12 boasted 12 teams.
- A few weeks back, it had 11.
- Just a month ago, it had four.
- Now, only Oregon State and Washington State remain, and their options are limited.
Options for the Two Schools:
- They initially hoped to rebuild a “Pac-4,” but that dream has faded.
- The American Athletic Conference recently closed its doors to West Coast schools, leaving the two Pac-12 leftovers with two choices.
- Choice 1: Attempt to recruit other schools to form a new Pac-12, which seems unlikely.
- Choice 2: Search for a welcoming conference.
- “Group of 5” options are available, but they aren’t the priority for Oregon State’s AD, Scott Barnes, who expressed this sentiment before their choices dwindled.
The Mountain West Option:
- Appears to be the front-runner, offering some logistical advantages despite recent conference realignment decisions not always prioritizing logistics.
- Conference commissioner Gloria Nevarez has already pitched the idea to both Oregon State and Washington State.
- Joining the Mountain West would make them the conference’s 12th and 13th members.
- Potential for regional matchups and reduced travel costs.
- Financially, it’s a step down from the Pac-12, but it’s better than the alternative.
- Reference to the media rights deal with CBS and Fox Sports that runs through 2025-26, providing each member school with $4 million annually.
- Mention of the slim possibility of future conference realignment, offering another chance to improve their situation.
- Alternatively, both schools could try to persuade Mountain West and AAC members to revive the Pac-12, but that’s a long shot.
- Reflecting on how conference realignment often has “winners” and “losers.”
- Unfortunately, Oregon State and Washington State find themselves in the latter category, abandoned by their Pac-12 peers.
- Now, it’s up to them to make the best of a challenging situation.