This breaking news came really to everyone’s surprise. Washington State and Oregon State are set to join the West Coast Conference as affiliate members in basketball and all other non-football/baseball D-I sports for the next two seasons (starting in the 2024-25 academic year).
It looks as if the Mountain West had too many hurdles to bring aboard both schools in all sports. Keep in mind, Oregon State and Washington State already formed a scheduling agreement with the Mountain West for football in which they’ll play three MWC games at home and three games on the road in 2024. The two schools will have 30 days to decide if they want to join the WCC for baseball as well or go independent.
Here are some more of the details:
- The Cougars and Beavers will play a full WCC basketball schedule.
- The WCC schedule will increase from 16 to 18 or 20 games and the WCC tournament will be restructured.
- Their games count in the standings which means they will play in WCC tournament.
- Both have automatic qualifying rights to be conference representatives in the NCAA Tournament if they were to win.
- The NCAA Tournament shares are still being worked out.
This is a chess move by new WCC commissioner Stu Jackson over previous WCC commissioner and current MWC commissioner Gloria Nevarez. It improves the overall quality of basketball competition in the WCC.
But it’s all temporary, let’s not forget. Who knows what’s going to end up happening with the Pac-2 and if they somehow absorb some programs from the Mountain West. And how does this affect Gonzaga’s discussions about joining the Big East or the Big-12? Does say Grand Canyon or Seattle U join the West Coast Conference as well?
What I’m looking forward to the most is bringing back Gonzaga’s battles with in-state rival, Washington State. I missed when that was a normal part of the non-conference schedule for the Zags. The last time the two programs played each other was in 2015. Also, I’m very excited to see Kyle Smith make his return to the Hilltop to face off against the USF Dons.
Arden Cravalho is a Gonzaga University graduate from the Bay Area... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho