Oregon St., Washington St. to face MWC teams in scheduling deal

ByKyle Bonagura ESPN logo
Friday, December 1, 2023

The Mountain West Conference has agreed to a scheduling agreement with Oregon State and Washington State that will see its football teams play seven conference games plus an additional contest against either the Beavers or Cougars next season.

Oregon State and Washington State will each play six MWC opponents in 2024, three at home and three on the road. The games will not count toward the MWC standings, and neither school is eligible for the conference championship game.

The two schools will pay the Mountain West a combined $14 million as part of the scheduling agreement, a source told ESPN, confirming a Yahoo Sports report.

"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," Mountain West commissioner Gloria 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."

Oregon State athletic director Scott Barnes said in a statement that, along with the six MWC matchups, the team will also face five Power 5 opponents and one FCS school.

Friday's announcement mentioned football only, though sources told ESPN that discussions between the MWC and the two Pac-12 schools are expected to result in similar scheduling agreements in other sports, including basketball.

With the transfer portal window for football set to open Monday, there was more urgency to finalize an agreement for football to provide clarity for what next year's season will look like.

The scheduling agreement comes as Oregon State and Washington State continue to battle in court for control of the Pac-12, which the schools have made clear they intend rebuild. The Pac-12 collapsed this year when eight schools -- Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Colorado, Oregon, Stanford, Utah and Washington -- followed UCLA and USC's lead from a year earlier in announcing they were leaving the conference.

Last month, a Washington state superior court granted Oregon State and Washington State control of the Pac-12. That ruling was stayed by the state's supreme court, which is determining whether to take the case on an appeal.

If Oregon State and Washington State take control of the Pac-12, it's possible down the line there will be a more formal merger with the Mountain West under the Pac-12 brand. That likely would not happen for at least two years, coinciding with the end of the Mountain West's current media rights agreement. Sources stressed to ESPN that the complexity of such a merger makes forecasting with much accuracy how or when that could come together.

"We are still focused on re-building the Pac-12, and continue to prioritize the student-athlete experience at Oregon State," Barnes said in his statement.

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