OSU and WSU Presidents hold meeting days before conference opener

Oregon State Vice President and Athletic Director Scott Barnes speaks to the media about the newly constructed west side of Reser Stadium on August 8, 2023.
Oregon State Vice President and Athletic Director Scott Barnes speaks to the media about the newly constructed west side of Reser Stadium on August 8, 2023.
Sam Nicklous

30 days

That’s how long Washington State President Kirk Schulz predicts it will take to gain some ground on the future of the Pac-12.

“I don’t think it’s going to take us months to get the full picture,” Schulz said. “I’m optimistic that in the next 30 days or so we’re going to have a pretty decent idea of a lot of this and that’ll help our decision-making and our legal strategy.”

The meeting between Oregon State and Washington State leaders convened to answer questions from the media about the future of the Pac-12 on Thursday afternoon. Plenty of questions were asked and answered, including a timeframe for what’s to come in the conference. 

With the PAC-12 conference openers just days away, the two remaining teams are set to play each other in football this upcoming weekend at Gesa Field in Pullman, Washington. It will be a battle of two ranked teams for the first time in the matchup’s history

Oregon State is one of only two schools since 2018 to have a 10-win football season, both men’s and women’s basketball teams advancing to the elite eight in March Madness, and both baseball and softball teams qualify for the College World Series, yet they are one of two teams left in the 108-year-old conference.

“We continue to depend on you to share your frustration and your belief in these student-athletes across OSU’s 17 sports who demonstrated again and again that they deserve the ability to compete at the highest possible levels,” OSU President Jayathi Murthy stated.

The other team, of course, Washington State, is also shining as an athletically stable university. They are one of only three teams in the nation to be nationally ranked in football, volleyball, and women’s soccer this year.

“Ironically, this is not a case of two underperforming teams being relegated. In fact, these are two of the best college football teams in the country going head to head this weekend at a sold-out stadium on National Television,” Schulz commented. 

The matchup between the two teams was just recently announced that it had made National Television as the game was picked up by FOX for the 4 p.m. slate on Saturday.

If the decision is to ultimately rebuild the Pac-12 with teams from other conferences, there are a few requirements that would need to be met to continue to play at the highest level.

“The thresholds depend on the sport, as an example FBS requires eight football members, basketball seven, less than others. But the reality is there is also a grace period as we think about our path forward and the multiple options we are dealing with here,” athletic director for Oregon State Scott Barnes stated.

Washington State’s athletic director Pat Chun added,

“Based on the bylaws, to maintain our FBS status the Pac-12 has two years to fulfill the membership criteria.”

The meeting discussed more than just sports and football, including potential media partners for the upcoming years, assets and liabilities of the Pac-12, decisions on whether to keep or disband the Pac-12, and more.

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  • J

    Jennifer JacobsSep 22, 2023 at 8:19 pm

    Great article! Addressed concerns that many people have regarding the wonderful sports programs at OSU.

  • M

    MikeSep 22, 2023 at 6:27 pm

    Excellent article, we’ll written and very informative