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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Cal and Stanford seem to inch closer to departure, leaving WSU and Oregon State as the Pac-2

Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group Washington State running back Nakia Watson, who rushed for 166 yards, scores a touchdown just before halftime Saturday during a Pac-12 road game against Stanford.  (SSR)

PULLMAN – Washington State appears to be standing on an island with only two survivors remaining.

That’s the word from a San Francisco Chronicle columnist, who suggested that Cal, Stanford and SMU are “in the process of finalizing a deal” to join the ACC in football as well as men’s and women’s basketball.

That would leave the Pac-12 with just two schools: WSU and Oregon State, the odd ones out in the conference’s mass exodus.

WSU will wait to issue a statement until the departing schools share the news themselves, per a team spokesman.

Washington State will need to find a new conference home soon. In a new video he shared last week, university president Kirk Schulz said the program is looking at three options regarding conference realignment: Join the Mountain West, join the AAC or rebuild the Pac-12.

That last option might have just taken a blow.

With only two schools remaining, how will the conference sell itself as an institution other schools should join? That may be the challenge for the conference brass – at least what’s left of it.

If they try that, they would likely need to poach schools from the Mountain West, whose schools would face pricey exit fees to join in time for the 2024 season – somewhere in the $30 million range, according to multiple reports. To make this work, the conferences would likely need to work out some type of merger to avoid such exit fees.

Mountain West commissioner Gloria Neverez will be in Pullman on Thursday, according to a report from 247Sports’ CougFan, which says her visit will be “exploratory in nature.”