When the end of July and beginning of August featured the biggest conference realignment shakeup in the history of major college sports, Washington State and Oregon State were left behind. Now, they are being pursued by two conferences, though neither may be a particularly good option.
It wasn’t that long ago where Washington State and Oregon State felt pretty safe in the game of conference musical chairs. They had been a member of the PAC 12 or its former versions since 1917.
But, They were left out of the major conferences in July. After Colorado announced they were heading to the Big 12, a few weeks later things really started to unravel for the PAC 12. When Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah left for the Big 12 and Oregon and Washington went to the Big Ten, things got bleak for Washington State.
That left only Cal, Stanford, Oregon State, and Washington State in the old PAC 12. Cal and Stanford aren’t particularly thrilled with adding teams in the Mountain West to the PAC 12 due to academic prestige, and they’re actively trying to get into the ACC. Oregon State and Washington State would love a Big 12 invite, but they’re not going to get one. That leaves a lot of not-great options for those two schools.
The most likely options are the AAC (not the ACC), and the Mountain West. The problem is, the media rights deals of those leagues compared to what Washington State was earning in the PAC 12 is so much less that it threatens the financial health of the athletic department as a whole.
Not to worry Coug fans! At least those conferences want you! And, Washington State has already met with one of them. Here’s more from Ross Dellenger at Yahoo! Sports.
Commissioners of those leagues, Gloria Nevarez (MWC) and Mike Aresco (AAC), will deliver expansion presentations in the coming days to officials from Washington State and Oregon State, sources tell Yahoo Sports — the first serious step in the two conferences’ courtship of the Pac-12’s remnants.
I guess it’s better than being left out altogether. It’s still a bleak future for those two schools in terms of competing in major college athletics.