GENERAL NEWS

Oregon State, Washington State approached by Mountain West recently

Sep 2, 2023, 4:01 PM

Oregon State's Ryan Cooper Jr. (23) attempts to strip the ball from Washington State's De'Zhaun Str...

Oregon State's Ryan Cooper Jr. (23) attempts to strip the ball from Washington State's De'Zhaun Stribling (88) while Oregon State's Omar Speights (1) assists on the tackle during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in Corvallis, Ore. Oregon State and Washington State are the last remaining members of the Pac-12 after this season and they have been fielding calls from the likes of the Mountain West and American Athletic conferences eager to discuss options. (AP Photo/Mark Ylen, File)

(AP Photo/Mark Ylen, File)

The Mountain West Conference made pitches late last month to the Pac-12’s final two members after realignment, Oregon State and Washington State.

Mountain West Commissioner Gloria Nevarez made presentations to Washington State on Aug. 24 and to Oregon State on Monday, Associate Commissioner Javan Hedlund confirmed Saturday.

Stanford and California announced Friday they are bolting for the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2024. That leaves the Beavers and the Cougars alone in the Pac-12.

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

One possible option for Washington State and Oregon was shut down Friday when the American Athletic Conference released a statement that said “we have concluded that the best way to proceed for our outstanding student-athletes is to not look westward.”

Both the Beavers and the Cougars made it clear they are working together to find, or create, a solution. In addition to the Mountain West, the teams also could attempt to build a new Pac-12 with teams from that conference or others.

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

Nevarez was attending the Rams’ game against the Cougars.

Oregon State President Jayathi Murthy said Friday a decision for the Beavers likely would come in weeks, not months. Her hope was that the Pac-12 brand can be retained in some way.

“We continue to look for options that work for us, where the needs of our students-athletes are taken care of, where our athletic and academic values align, and where we can play at the national level and be visible,” she said. “But jumping from a conference was never the first option, making the conference work is always where my heart and my mind lay. And I’m sorry that a top-20 football team ends up where we are because of the focus on media rights and media valuations.”

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Oregon State, Washington State approached by Mountain West recently