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The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

WSU, OSU join West Coast Conference in 12 sports

Basketball ,volleyball, soccer and more Olympic sports to join WCC in fall 2024
The new men’s basketball head coach, Kyle Smith, gives a “Go Cougs” at the introductory press conference in the Rankich Club Room of Martin Stadium on Monday morning.

Washington State University and Oregon State University announced they will join the West Coast Conference through a two-year affiliate agreement for 12 sports, including men’s and women’s basketball.

WSU men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, volleyball, soccer, rowing and tennis will compete in the WCC beginning in fall 2024.

OSU will compete in the WCC in each of the same sports as WSU except for women’s tennis and men’s cross country but will have men’s soccer and softball join the WCC.

“We are pleased with the opportunity to support Oregon State and Washington State with affiliate membership. Their addition to the WCC augments the national competitive excellence and fortifies the strength of the Conference across these 12 sports. We look forward to partnering with these institutions as we continue to support our student-athletes, coaches, and programs across the full range of our sponsored sports,” Thayne McCulloh, president of Gonzaga University and the chair of the WCC Presidents’ Council said in a statement.

An affiliate agreement allows WSU and OSU’s games to count in the WCC standings. This arrangement will grant WSU and OSU the opportunity to earn at-large bids to each sport’s respective NCAA Tournament and the opportunity to win the conference and earn automatic postseason bids.

With the 10 departing Pac-12 schools joining the Big Ten, Big 12 or ACC in each of their sponsored sports, WSU and OSU, the two remaining Pac-12 schools have faced the challenge of securing competition for 2024 and beyond for each Division-I Athletic program.

“As we explore long-term solutions for the Pac-12 Conference and Washington State University, we appreciate Commissioner Stu Jackson and the West Coast Conference for their partnership in providing 10 of our programs affiliate membership,”  WSU Athletic Director Pat Chun said in a statement. “The WCC allows an opportunity for our 10 teams to have access to championships as well as high-level competition.”

WSU will continue to search for a home for baseball, men’s and women’s track and field and swimming, WSU Athletics said in a statement.

The addition of a range of WSU and OSU programs gives the WCC 11 teams in men’s and women’s basketball, women’s soccer, volleyball and women’s cross country; 10 teams in men’s golf and women’s tennis; nine in men’s soccer, men’s cross country and women’s rowing; and six in softball and women’s golf, the WCC said in a statement.

WSU and OSU football have a scheduling agreement with the Mountain West Conference, they announced Dec. 1 that grants them six games over each of the next two seasons (three at home, three away). These games will not count in the MWC standings as WSU and OSU football will continue to operate as the Pac-12 Conference in 2024.

Men’s basketball coach Kyle Smith was the first WSU coach to react to the news in a press conference after WSU’s 66-61 win over Boise State, Thursday at Spokane Arena.

“I can nail the crucifix up at the watch tower. It’s a catholic league, right’?” Smith said as he chuckled.

Smith spent approximately 20 collective years coaching in the WCC, serving as an assistant for San Diego (1992–2000) and Saint Mary’s (2001–10) and leading San Francisco from 2016–19.

“It’s a great basketball league, no one knows it better than me,” Smith said. “The irony of it is pretty funny.”

Smith said WSU’s WCC affiliation will aid the Cougs’ recruiting.

“There’s a future,” Smith said.

Smith said he gives his team a lot of credit for handling the uncertainty around WSU’s conference future.

“Being able to concentrate when so many things are going on,” Smith said. “It’s just a testament that kids are awesome. They’re pretty simple and they have a great attitude, they work hard.”

A return to the WCC allows Smith to coach opposite several old opponents, including Gonzaga head coach Mark Few, who was in attendance at WSU’s 66-61 win over Boise State, Thursday at Spokane Arena.

“I heard he walked by our bench, coach Hunter saw him, but I didn’t even know he was there, Smith said in between chuckles. “That’s my nightmare. Back! We’re back! No, I thought I escaped, they reeled me back in. But I guess, you know, God has a plan baby.”

WSU and OSU will compete in WCC beginning in fall 2024.

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About the Contributor
SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen sports co-editor
Sam is a senior multimedia journalism major from Lacey, Washington and the sports editor for spring 2024. He was the sports editor for the 2022-23 school year and managing editor for the summer and fall 2023. He plays the trumpet in the Cougar Marching Band, loves sports and has worked at the Evergreen since fall 2021.