According to a report by CBS Sports’ Matt Norlander and Dennis Dodd, the stranded sons of the Pac-12 have found a temporary home. Oregon State and Washington State will join the West Coast Conference as affiliate members for all sports except football and baseball for the 2024-2025 and 2025-26 seasons.
Breaking NCAA news: Oregon State and Washington 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, sources tell @CBSSports.— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) December 20, 2023
Story and full details: https://t.co/6HW4EuwCWW
The conference is expected to formally vote on the additions Thursday. The WCC, which is a nine-team league this year due to the departure of BYU to the Big 12, will increase to 11 for the next two years.
Gonzaga has dominated the WCC, earning at least a share of the regular season men’s basketball championship in 22 of the last 23 seasons. The Bulldogs’ biannual meetings with perennial top challenger Saint Mary’s are among the preeminent games on the national college basketball calendar each year.
The rest of the conference is comprised of Loyola Marymount, Pacific, Pepperdine, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, and Santa Clara.
Oregon State and Washington State, which became the only two schools remaining in the Pac-12 after the Big Ten, Big 12, and ACC pillaged the other 10 universities, will be the only public schools in the conference.
Although currently in a down year (11th), the WCC has ranked among the top nine conferences in KenPom in each of the previous five seasons. The addition of the two Pac-12 programs should help the league on the court and in terms of getting eyeballs on television.
Washington State men’s basketball is coached by Kyle Smith, a former head coach at San Francisco who was previously an assistant at both San Diego and Saint Mary’s. Smith, in his fifth season in Pullman, is on pace to lead Washington State to four consecutive seasons in KenPom’s top 80 for the first time in the KenPom era.
On the women’s side, Kamie Ethridge has led the Cougars to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments, including a Pac-12 Tournament title last year. Wazzu is currently 11-2, attempting to build a resume for a fourth consecutive tournament berth.
Oregon State’s men’s basketball, coached by former Montana head coach Wayne Tinkle, team made the Elite 8 in 2021, but is currently on pace for its third consecutive sub-200 KenPom season.
The women’s basketball program at OSU has made the NCAA Tournament seven times since 2014 under head coach Scott Rueck. The Beavers are currently 9-0 on the women’s side.
The current 16-game conference schedule will be altered, but the decision has yet to be made as to whether the schedule will be 18 or 20 games. The WCC Tournament’s unique format is expected to change as well.
Both schools will be eligible for automatic qualifications through the WCC into NCAA Championship events. The Beavers and Cougars have already agreed to join the Mountain West to continue playing FBS football temporarily, and they are reportedly going to play baseball as independents.
Many speculated that the two would join the MWC for all sports, but those negotiations have hit some snags, per reports. Those negotiations may be revisited when the time comes.