Lawmakers to reportedly push for Oregon-Oregon State, Washington-Washington State to remain together
In 2025, Oklahoma will leave Oklahoma State behind to join the SEC. The two in-state rivals have met on the football field every year since 1910. After 2024, though, Oklahoma State doesn’t know if the series will continue in football.
The Cowboys felt some type of way when Oklahoma bolted for the SEC in a move that never included OSU.
Perhaps that situation serves as a roadmap for Oregon and Washington if they’re looking to partner up and jump from the Pac-12 to the Big Ten. Most of the speculation surrounding which teams would follow USC and UCLA away from the Pac-12 has centered around the Ducks and Huskies, with little mention of their in-state counterparts—Oregon State and Washington State, respectively.
In an attempt to keep either school from doing to its in-state peer what Oklahoma did to Oklahoma State, lawmakers in both Oregon and Washington are looking to emphasize that the public and taxpayers don’t want public Pac-12 universities to split from each other, according to longtime Pac-12 columnist John Canzano. If successful, it’s a push to keep Oregon tethered to Oregon State and Washington to Washington State.
Spoke to lawmakers in Washington and Oregon today. There's a movement afoot to emphasize that the public and taxpayers do not want public Pac-12 universities split from each other.
The effort, if successful, would keep OSU-Oregon together and WSU-Washington together.
— John Canzano (@johncanzanobft) July 1, 2022
It’s an interesting move.
Throughout college football, there are Power Five programs occupying the same state but residing in different conferences. Florida and Florida State play in the SEC and ACC, but meet every year for an out-of-conference matchup. Same situation with Georgia and Georgia Tech. Iowa resides in the Big Ten while Iowa State plays in the Big 12, and the two meet every September.
If Oregon and Washington are serious about joining the Big Ten, however, being tied to their in-state counterparts could prove a dealbreaker.
The Big Ten places quite a bit of value on its universities being members of the Association of American Universities (AAU). When conference realignment has come up in the past, the common refrain has been “look at the list of AAU schools and that’s who the Big Ten will target.” Former Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delaney said that AAU membership was “an important part of who (the Big Ten is),” back in 2010.
Currently, Nebraska is the only Big Ten member that isn’t a part of the AAU, but Nebraska was approved to join the conference when it still had membership. In 2011, NU was expelled from the AAU, the first expulsion from the group in 111 years.
UCLA and USC are both members. As are Oregon and Washington. Oregon State and Washington State are not.
Reports suggest the Big Ten and SEC could both be targeting 20 programs for their leagues. With both sitting at 16 and the Big Ten being very interested in Notre Dame, it likely doesn’t want Oregon State and Washington State if it can attract others to join the fold. This will be a situation to monitor.