Oregon State and Washington State are working on a deal to become affiliate members of the West Coast Conference for basketball and other Olympic sports for two years, two people with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
A deal could be done as soon as this week, according to the people who spoke on condition of anonymity because details had not been finalized. WCC university presidents were expected to meet by Thursday to consider the proposed arrangement, which was first reported by CBS Sports.
Earlier this month, Oregon State and Washington State announced a football scheduling agreement with the Mountain West Conference for next season as they try to survive the collapse of the Pac-12, with the other 10 schools all leaving for other leagues next summer. The Beavers and Cougars will play six football games against Mountain West opponents and pay the league $14 million as part of the scheduling agreement.
The schools had discussions about expanding the agreement with the Mountain West to other sports, one of the people said, but were also looking into alternative plans with the WCC, which includes men’s basketball power Gonzaga.
The WCC also includes Saint Mary’s, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Loyola Marymount, Portland, Pacific and Pepperdine.
The agreement being discussed with the WCC would allow Oregon State and Washington State to compete in conference tournaments.
The deal being considered does not include baseball for now, one of the people said. Oregon State’s baseball program has been one of the best in the country over the last 20 years with six College World Series appearances.
An agreement with the WCC would allow Oregon State and Washington State to keep the Pac-12 alive as a two-team conference for at least one year. NCAA rules allow a conference to have as few as two teams for up to two years.
Oregon State and Washington State last week won an important legal victory when the state Supreme Court in Washington declined to review a lower court’s ruling that gave the two schools full control over Pac-12 decision-making and assets.