After months of rumors, the Mountain West has finally agreed to a football partnership with Oregon State and Washington State, the two remaining teams in the Pac-12.
The two Pacific Northwest schools have entered into a scheduling partnership with the conference for the 2024 season.
The big picture: All 12 Mountain West teams will play seven conference games next year, instead of eight to accommodate the scheduling agreement.
- Each team will play one game against either Washington State or Oregon State.
- Those games will not count toward the conference standings for the Mountain West, and neither Pac-12 school will be eligible for the Mountain West Championship Game.
- All Mountain West teams will still have four home and four away games with the scheduling agreement, as well as whatever nonconference games they have on tap.
- The Mountain West will release the updated conference schedule with the two Pac-12 teams included soon.
What we’re watching: While some sort of deal with Oregon State and Washington State was long expected due to their location near Mountain West schools, a long-term solution for the two universities is still unclear.
- And while the details of the agreement were not made public by the conference, the Associated Press reported that Oregon State and Washington State will pay around $14 million to the Mountain West in 2024 to facilitate the agreement.
- Oregon State and Washington State are allowed to operate the Pac-12 with just two teams for two years under NCAA rules, meaning they’ll either have to join a new conference, invite teams to the Pac-12 or go independent by 2026.
- The two schools are also in the middle of a legal battle against the 10 Pac-12 schools who are departing after this year. A Washington court granted a preliminary injunction last month to give the two schools control of over $400 million in assets this year and likely over $100 million in assets in 2025. But the other schools have filed an appeal, delaying the ruling.
What they’re saying: Mountain West Commissioner Gloria Nevarez called the agreement “a unique and unprecedented opportunity” for Oregon State and Washington State.
- “The scheduling agreement will expand the Mountain West footprint and enhance our national brand, while providing our student-athletes with new opportunities, all in line with our strategic priorities,” Nevarez said in a statement. “The scheduling agreement strengthens the league’s non-conference schedules, and we look forward to having Oregon State and Washington State be a part of the 2024 slate.”