After Pac-12 Breakup, Washington State Lands Mountain West Swim Affiliation

Washington State versus Idaho during the Cougars 178-84 win over the Vandals in a non-conference NCAA college women's swim meet Friday, Oct. 18, 2019 at Gibb Pool in Pullman, Wash. It was also Alumni Night, with several swimming alumni present.
Washington State Photo Courtesy: Dean Hare

After Pac-12 Breakup, Washington State Lands Mountain West Swim Affiliation

Washington State’s women’s swimming program will be an affiliate member of the Mountain West Conference in 2024-25, the school announced Tuesday.

The agreement with the Mountain West covers the women’s swimming and baseball programs. It’s the ramifications of the debris field left by the implosion of the Pac-12 this year, of which Washington State and Oregon State were the last remaining members. The two schools reached a financial settlement for the conference’s dissolution this spring. Oregon State does not sponsor varsity swimming, and Washington State does for women only.

“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,” Washington State Interim Director of Athletics Anne McCoy said in a university statement. “This agreement offers both programs a competitive schedule in a west coast-based conference while providing a championship path for coming seasons.”

The affiliate agreement will allow both sports to compete for Mountain West titles and for NCAA tournament positioning. The baseball program is a bigger get for the Mountain West, a four-time qualifier for the College World Series. Wazzu’s football program also engaged the Mountain West in a six-game scheduling agreement for the 2024 season. Ten other sports – men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, rowing, soccer, tennis and volleyball – have affiliate agreements with the West Coast Conference.

Washington State’s swim program his year had its first All-American performer in Emily Lundgren.

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

The cash-fueled conference rat race has blasted the remnants of the Pac-12 to the four corners of the college map, effectively extinguishing the conference at the end of the 2023-24 academic year.

UCLA and USC announced their intention to leave the conference for the Big Ten in June 2022, the move effective for the start of the 2024-25 academic year. Colorado announced it would bolt for the Big 12 in July 2023. A week later, Oregon and Washington hightailed it for the Big Ten, then Arizona, Arizona State and Utah followed the Buffs to the Big 12. The death knell came Sept. 1, 2023, with Pacific coast schools California and Stanford joining the Atlantic Coast Conference as a last gasp attempt to get off the sinking ship.

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