Answering one of the impending questions surrounding the constant revolution of conference realignment, it was announced this week that Oregon State and Washington State will join the WCC as affiliate members in several sports, including basketball. Both the Beavers and Cougars were left without direction, as the other ten members of the Pac-12 will al depart the league this upcoming season.
With that mass exodus, these two remaining members of the Pac-12 were clearly left in a terrible position. While no permanent solution currently exists, Oregon State and Washington State have already agreed on a scheduling agreement with the Mountain West for football. While it may be a bit surprising that no similar agreement took place in basketball and other sports, a temporary affiliation with the WCC helps everyone in the interim.
These two teams join a conference that already has a powerful program in Gonzaga and a few other intriguing basketball teams in Saint Mary’s, San Francisco, and Santa Clara. We won’t dive into every member of the WCC, though this isn’t a major cliff fall for Oregon State and Washington State, who haven’t exactly been consistent powers in men’s basketball.
At the present time there are no concrete plans in place to rebuild the Pac-12, though this move buys time for that to happen. It’s possible that the conference could be rebuilt using those MWC schools that they’ll play in football, but those moves won’t take place for this next season. Affiliating with the WCC gives legitimate conference schedules for both Oregon State and Washington State, plus intriguing matchups with Gonzaga and these other schools.
For all intents and purposes this is a bandage for both the Beavers and Cougars, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The way this move backfires is if Gonzaga is accepted into one of the power conferences, leaving these two schools fending in a much weaker WCC. For now, Oregon State and Washington State made a smart move and will play basketball in the WCC for the 2024-25 season. What happens after that remains a mystery.