Mountain West made pitches to Oregon State, Washington State

Associated PressSep 2, 2023, 03:19 PM ET2 minute reading

The Mountain West Conference made Oregon State and Washington State the final two members of the Pac-12 late last month after realignment.

Mountain West Commissioner Gloria Nevarez briefed Washington state on Aug. 24 and Oregon state on Monday, Associate Commissioner Javan Hedlund confirmed Saturday.

Stanford and California announced they will join the Atlantic Coast Conference on Friday. That leaves the Beavers and Cougars alone in the Pac-12.

Eight other teams from the once “Conference of Champions” previously announced plans to leave next year. USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington are headed to the Big Ten, and Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah will play in the Big 12.

A potential option for Washington State and Oregon was closed Friday, with the American Athletic Conference releasing a statement that said “we have decided that the best way forward for our outstanding student-athletes is not to look west.”

The Beavers and Cougars made it clear they were working together to find or create a solution. In addition to the Mountain West, teams could try to form a new Pac-12 with teams from that conference and/or others.

The latest departures come as Washington State and Oregon State prepare to open their football seasons. The Cougars were at Colorado State on Saturday, and San Jose State on Sunday at No. 18 Beavers visited. Both games are indicative of what’s to come: Colorado State and San Jose State are in the Mountain West.

Nevarez attended the Rams’ game against the Cougars.

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Oregon State President Jayati Murthy said Friday that a decision on the Beavers will come in weeks, not months. His hope is that the Pac-12 brand can somehow be maintained.

“We’re constantly looking for options that work for us, where the needs of our student-athletes are addressed, where our athletic and academic values ​​are, where we can play and be seen at the national level,” Murthy said. “But jumping from a conference was never a first choice; working the conference was always in my heart and my mind. And I’m saddened that a top-20 football team ends up where we are because of the focus on media rights and media ratings.”

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