The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

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 baseball, swimming join Mountain West

Cougar baseball and swimming will join July 1 for two years as MW affiliate members, eligible for conference championships
Max Hartman hits a ball toward the sky against Cal, April 12, in Pullman, Wash.

WSU baseball and swimming will join the Mountain West Conference as affiliate members beginning July 1, WSU and the MW announced Tuesday morning.

Affiliate status allows NCAA schools to compete for Conference Championships and playoff bids as a member of a Conference for a temporary period.

Ten WSU programs, including men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, volleyball, tennis, rowing and men’s and women’s cross country and men’s and women’s golf announced in December 2023 that they would join the West Coast Conference as affiliate members.

WSU men’s and women’s track and field remain the only two programs without a Conference affiliation plan.

“Finding a home for our baseball and women’s swimming programs has been a top priority for our athletic department and we appreciate the efforts of so many to get to this point,” WSU Interim Athletic Director Anne McCoy said in a statement. “This agreement offers both programs a competitive schedule in a West Coast-based conference while providing a championship path for coming seasons.”

While the West Coast Conference affiliate status deal was reached in conjunction with Oregon State University, OSU baseball banked on its National Championship reputation and declined the WCC’s offer, electing instead to go independent for the 2025 season. 

OSU baseball intends to build a competitive independent schedule that includes schools from the Big Ten, SEC, Big 12, Big West, WCC, WAC and the current Pac-12, according to the Oregonian.

WSU baseball joins a seven-school Mountain West Conference, including Fresno State, Air Force, New Mexico, Nevada, UNLV, San Jose State and San Diego State.

Cougar baseball (17-17, 7-11 Pac-12) will get a preview of Mountain West play April 26–28 when they host the first-place Fresno State Bulldogs (25-10, 14-4 Mountain West) at Bailey-Brayton Field. Under first-year head coach Nathan Choate, the Cougs beat Kentucky and forced extra innings against TCU early in the year, but were swept by Cal over the weekend. 

With 2,801 all-time wins entering 2024, WSU baseball is the 13th-winningest NCAA D-I baseball program.

WSU swimming saw multiple Cougs qualify for the NCAA Championships each of the last two years.

WSU swimming relay teams take three medals at National Invitational Championships, March 9-11.

Under the leadership of sixth-year head coach Matt Leach, WSU swimming’s Emily Lundgren became WSU’s first All-American since 2007.

The Mountain West’s 10 swimming and diving programs sent six student-athletes to the 2024 NCAA Championships.

The affiliate status differs from WSU football’s scheduling agreement in which the Cougs will play six Mountain West opponents, but not be eligible for the Conference Championship. WSU and OSU will compete for up to two years in the now two-school Pac-12 as the Conference seeks to expand.

WSU baseball and swimming will compete in the Mountain West Conference for two years as affiliate members.

“We are grateful for the patience shown by our student-athletes and coaches as we have navigated this process,” McCoy said.

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About the Contributors
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.
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2024 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.