New Pac-12 commissioner Teresa Gould considering all options

New Pac-12 commissioner Teresa Gould considering all options

A day before she is set to begin a two-year commitment as the new commissioner of the Pac-12 conference, Teresa Gould said the most important part of her job will be to help the remaining two schools — Oregon State and Washington State — position themselves for the future.

“That strategic piece is really being bold and being aggressive, being intentional and really attacking these challenges head on, but also being open-minded and making sure that we’re considering all options,” Gould said on a videoconference.

“That is probably the most important and urgent piece of my role, is to partner with the leadership on both campuses to forge that future path for their two campuses and their athletic programs.”

Gould, who was joined by Washington State president Kirk Schulz, did not provide any specifics about what that future could look like beyond the next two seasons, during which Oregon State and Washington State will compete in the West Coast Conference in most sports, along with a scheduling partnership in football with the Mountain West.

For a conference to exist, the NCAA requires “at least seven active Division I members,” all of which must sponsor men’s and women’s basketball, and for the conference to sponsor at least 12 Division I sports, among other requirements.

In the case of departures, NCAA bylaws allow a conference a two-year grace period in which it can exist without the minimum number of schools. The Pac-12’s grace period starts in the 2024-25 academic year.

“I think we all felt that that was an important commitment that I commit to stay through the NCAA grace period and through those two agreements [with the WCC and MWC] to make sure that we’re collaborating and seeing this work through,” Gould said.

Gould confirmed there have not been any formal discussions with the Mountain West about a full-on merger or so-called reverse merger that would formally tie Oregon State and Washington State with the MWC member schools.

“Both those conferences know that we’ve got a multiyear window here where there’s got to be some final landing spot for those two schools,” Schulz said. “And so I just think we got to keep communications open back and forth. We got to make sure that we don’t sort of come strutting in there thinking we’re just better than everybody else of where we were before. We’ll wind up getting our ass kicked if that happens.

“But I do think it’s really important for us to keep that partnership there, keep the communications open, and we’re counting on Teresa to work with her commissioner colleagues in those two conferences as well on what future partnerships could look like.”

The conference will continue to operate under the Pac-12 brand and will keep its television studio in San Ramon, California, for at least another academic year. Gould did not provide an update on what should be expected regarding television broadcasts for OSU and WSU home football games, only saying that she has been “encouraged about the interest for those media rights” and was hopeful there would be an announcement in the near future.

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