The 2023 NCAA Football regular season is over and that also marks the end of the Pac-12 Conference in the form that it has held for more than a century.
With two remaining members, Oregon State and Washington State, the league is finalizing a non-conference alliance with the Mountain West Conference that is expected to be announced any time. The agreement will center on a “7+1” format where MWC teams will play seven league members and then either the Beavers or the Cougars. This agreement would be for the 2024 campaign but also has an option for the 2025 season as well.
OSU and WSU would not be eligible for the MWC championship and while there is not expected to be a contractual requirement for a long-term merger between the two conferences, there is an intent and understanding of full-time membership in the Mountain West or a merger.
The pair of Pac schools are expected to negotiate their own television agreements with Fox and CBS Sports, who both deal with the MWC. They would also broadcast their own home games as the Pac-12’s television deal with ESPN and Fox ends in the summer of 2024.
While the initial agreement is for football only, the schools and leagues appear to be open to a similar schedule for mens and women basketball.
For now, the initial sum being reported is $14 for this agreement which would be split up among the Mountain West members. The setup also allows for rivalry games to be potentially scheduled with Washington and Oregon should those schools agree to the games.
It has been a well-documented dissolution of a once proud league, starting with the surprising announcement of Southern California (USC) and UCLA departing for the Big-10. After failing to secure a new television deal, the league future unraveled as Colorado jumped ship back to the Big-12, followed by Arizona, Arizona State and Utah. Both Stanford and Cal along with SMU will be joining the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in 2024.
Though left abandoned and landlocked geographically and in terms of conference, both OSU and WSU were granted control of more than $400 in assets this year and more than $100 potentially for 2025. Much like Kenny Rogers exhorting gamblers not to count their money at the table though, the schools can not yet spend that money as other former Pac-12 teams have filed an appeal in that case.