Report: Oregon State, Washington State in talks to join Mountain West for 2024-24 basketball season

On3 imageby:Nick Schultz12/14/23

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As the Pac-12 goes through its final basketball season, the big question is what will happen to Oregon State and Washington State. The two programs came to a scheduling agreement with the Mountain West earlier this month in football, but that left the future of the other programs up in the air.

An answer could be coming — at least, in basketball.

CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reported Oregon State and Washington State are “in talks” to join the Mountain West for the 2024-25 basketball season. The two programs are the only pieces remaining from the groundbreaking round of conference realignment, which saw eight Pac-12 programs announce their departures after USC and UCLA already said they were leaving for the Big Ten.

It’s still unclear what the impact of the move would have on other sports.

Oregon and Washington are joining USC and UCLA in the Big Ten, while the “Four Corners” schools — Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah — are bound for the Big 12. Then, Cal and Stanford accepted invitations to join the ACC.

That left Oregon State and Washington State left to figure out what was next. Rumors swirled about the Mountain West’s interest, but the two universities took steps to try and save the Pac-12 brand. NCAA rules state a conference must have a minimum of eight teams, but there is a two-year grace period. That means the “Pac-12” could stay around for two years with just the two teams.

Oregon State and Washington State filed a joint lawsuit in September to become the sole voting members of the conference, arguing conference bylaws states other schools gave up their vote when they announced their departures. In November, a judge ruled in their favor. However, a couple weeks later, the Washington State Supreme Court entered a temporary stay of the preliminary injunction until a ruling on an emergency stay could take place.

All the while, the two schools entered a scheduling agreement with the Mountain West for the 2024 season, which gave them homes for football.

“This is a unique and unprecedented opportunity for Oregon State and Washington State to play against highly competitive Mountain West football programs in 2024,” Mountain West commissioner Gloria Nevarez in a press release. “The scheduling agreement will expand the Mountain West footprint and enhance our national brand, while providing our student-athletes with new opportunities, all in line with our strategic priorities.

“The scheduling agreement strengthens the league’s non-conference schedules, and we look forward to having Oregon State and Washington State be a part of the 2024 slate.”