Oregon State University and Washington State University will be joining the West Coast Conference as affiliate members for the 2024-25 and 2025-26 fiscal years, the WCC announced Dec. 22. Each school will compete in 10 sports with the two competing in 12 different sports combined.
The WCC currently has four affiliate members, but OSU and WSU will become the only schools competing in multiple sports, according to Front Office Sports. Members of Pepperdine Athletics said they are excited about the levels of competition and recognition being added to the conference.
“Anytime you’re adding more institutions and ones that have the history that the Oregon State and Washington State do and their involvement in the Pac-12, it’s only going to help add to the WCC’s exposure,” said Amanda Kurtz, associate director of Pepperdine Athletics.
Both schools will compete in the following: Men and Women’s Basketball, Men and Women’s golf, and Women’s Rowing, Soccer, Volleyball and Cross Country. Only OSU will compete in Softball and Men’s Soccer, while only WSU will compete in Men’s Cross Country and Women’s Tennis.
With Pepperdine traveling to new locations and new teams coming to Malibu, Pepperdine will be able to build more recognition for itself, Kurtz said.
“It’s a different market that we’re able to go to,” Kurtz said. “Different fans that maybe have never been to Malibu and watched the game here get to experience what Pepperdine is about.”
The contract between OSU, WSU and the WCC
Oregon Live received a copy of the contract between OSU, WSU and the WCC and released it Jan. 25. Most of the information in the contract was in the original announcement, except for some details such as that OSU will pay $307,000, and WSU will pay $273,000 to the WCC per year.
A couple of other pieces to note from the contract are both schools had the option to add their baseball teams to the WCC, and the two schools will not be a part of the Presidents or Executive Counsel.
“They don’t have voting rights for when we make changes to scheduling models or bylaws or anything like that,” Kurtz said. “Or, if we were looking at expanding to permanent members, they don’t have votes in those kinds of proceedings.”
There is nothing in the contract about the schools remaining a part of the conference past the 2025-26 fiscal year. It is unknown if OSU and WSU will look to remain in the WCC once the contract expires, Kurtz said.
“If there’s interest in this being a more permanent relationship, I think that will evolve in time,” Kurtz said. “But, right now, there’s no way for us to know what that’s going to look like.”
Playing against new opponents
The addition of two new teams means each sport will have to figure out how more games will fit into their respective schedule.
Scott Wong, Pepperdine Women’s Indoor Volleyball head coach, said in previous years, each Women’s Volleyball team would do a round robin in which they played every team twice. WCC coaches are currently figuring how they will rework the schedule because 20 conferences in a season is a lot.
“We’re trying to figure out what’s going to be best to send the most amount of teams to the NCAA’s,” Wong said. “And then, just our overall conference experience — to have the best experience possible.”
“Adding those games will also be very important to keeping our rhythm and finding more of a connection within our own team,” Romero said.
Additionally, since more teams will be competing for the conference title, Romero said this brings new levels of competition that her team is excited about facing off against.
“We definitely had that fire under our belly to really come back and be strong and really want to win and grab that championship,” Romero said. “Especially adding two more teams like that will be challenging, but we’re up for it.”
Departing from the Pac-12
As former members of the Pac-12, OSU and WSU were routinely facing schools that were nationally ranked in many different sports such as UCLA, USC or Stanford, according to Niche. Despite consistently facing high levels of competition, Wong said it’s still undetermined what these schools will look like in a new conference due to roster and coaching changes.
“The other question is, how did these schools invest or even value volleyball now going forward?” Wong said. “Because it is a little change, they’re going to be at a different conference, and they’re there with us for two years. There’s a lot of question marks.”
OSU and WSU are the only two teams remaining in the Pac-12 that aren’t becoming a full time member of a different conference at the end of the 2023-24 fiscal year, according to The Ringer.
“Those schools — it’s just bizarre because it’s a whole different travel,” Wong said. “You’re going across all kinds of time zones and stuff. So, our travel has gotten into the big picture of things. It’s always been great, but it’s still great where a lot of schools have gone downhill with that.”
Follow the Graphic on X: @PeppGraphic
Contact Tony Gleason on X: (@tony__gleason) or via email: email@example.com