Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley left the Pacific-12 Conference for the Atlantic Coast Conference on Friday Sept. 1. This paves the way for the Pac-12’s two remaining schools, Oregon State University and Washington State University, to join a new conference or create their own.
The MWC and the American Athletic Conference originally stood as the top two contenders to take Oregon and Washington State, according to CBS. Comments made by AAC commissioner Michael Aresco on Friday seemed to remove them from the equation.
“We have known that today’s move was a possibility, which has allowed us time to investigate a number of options, including consideration of the larger group of institutions in the Pacific time zone. We have concluded, however, that the best way to proceed for our outstanding student-athletes is to not look westward,” Aresco said in a public statement.
Oregon State and Washington State could also try to recruit schools from the MWC to either form a new conference or rebuild the Pac-12. However, the exit fee to leave the MWC is $34 million with less than a year’s notice, according to The Athletic.
“The departures from the Pac-12 by Stanford and California do not come as a surprise,” Washington State said in a statement. “The WSU Student-Athlete Advisory Panel and Athletics Advisory Committee have been meeting regularly to provide feedback on the competitive home that best suits WSU’s interests.”
The bylaws of the Pac-12 state that if the conference’s legal structure remains sound and both Oregon and Washington State stay, the assets may go to the schools by simply remaining in the conference, according to the Seattle Times. That number will likely total over $60 million by the end of the cycle next year.
The NCAA Division I Manual states that Football Bowl Sub- division conferences require a minimum of eight active members. However, it also includes a two-year grace period for this rule, which could buy both Oregon and Washington State more time.
“Jumping from a conference was never the first option. Making the conference work was always where my heart and mind lay,” Oregon State President Jayathi Murthy said at a press conference.
UNM athletics had no new information to share with the Daily Lobo.
Further decisions involving the Pac-12 and MWC could still arrive at any time in the coming weeks.
Lily Alexander is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @llilyalexander
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Lily Alexander is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted on Twitter @llilyalexander