Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian

Fresno State's student-run newspaper

The Collegian


Conference realignment: Where does Fresno State stand in all this?

Wyatt Bible
Graphic by Wyatt Bible.

Fresno State has flirted with the idea of joining a Power Five conference, specifically the Big 12. However, with the recent conference realignment drastically changing the NCAA landscape, the Big 12 is no longer looking to add schools for the foreseeable future. 

The Big 12 conference will add Brigham Young University, University of Houston, University of Cincinnati and the University of Central Florida for 2023. Long-time Big 12 rivals University of Oklahoma and University of Texas will play their last season in the conference this year before joining the SEC in 2024. 

In 2024, the University of Colorado Boulder, University of Utah, University of Arizona and Arizona State will join the Big 12, giving the conference 16 schools. 

Due to the realignment, the Pac-12 conference has lost ten of its 12 schools, only leaving Oregon State and Washington State. All schools will remain in their respective conference for the remainder of the year before they depart in 2024.

These transitions have left many with questions such as: Is a Mountain West and Pac-12 merger possible? Are the media deals doing any good? And where does Fresno State land in all this? 

Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval sat down with The Collegian and shared what this process has been like on the administrative side and what he thinks is the best route for the university. 

“I think it would be great. I think the association of these two powerful brands coming together, will be able to further, and negotiate, and strengthen our position in who we are as the Mountain West,” Jiménez-Sandoval said regarding a possible conference merger. 

There have been reports of the Pac-12 and Mountain West exploring a potential merger, which would make Fresno State a power five school. 

Jiménez-Sandoval also talked about the different regions when it comes to realignment and how it can be beneficial and detrimental with the cross-country conferences. While football carries the biggest budget, other sports don’t have the same funds at their disposal.

When talking about the positive aspect, Jiménez-Sandoval mentioned USC and UCLA.

“They will represent some of the values and some of the strength, vitality that California represents to itself, to the nation and to the world as well,” Jiménez-Sandoval said.

On the negative side, having California teams travel across the country can be a challenge. Outside of football, most athletic teams travel commercially, which means that they will often have layovers.

During a press conference on Aug. 5, Missouri Head Coach Eli Drinkwitz raised concerns about how the conference realignment would impact athletes’ mental health. 

“Do we know what the No. 1 indicator or symptom of or cause of mental health [issues] is? It’s lack of rest and sleep,” Drinkwitz said. “Traveling in those baseball, softball games, those people, they travel commercial. They get done playing. They gotta go to the airport. They come back, it’s 3 or 4 in the morning. They gotta go to class. I mean, did we ask any of them?” 

Host of the “Bring the Juice” podcast and Fresno State football alumni Frank Dalena shared what kind of adversity college athletes deal with. For fifth year players or veterans of the team it’s easier to adapt, but for the 18 and 19-year-olds it’s a big workload that isn’t accounted for when it comes down to all the dollar signs, he said. 

There are many factors that play into why a school switches conferences. One of the main factors for the current realignment was the Pac-12 proposed media deal from Apple, which would be a subscription based streaming deal

“I think it’s gonna fall right on its face,” Dalena said. “​​I personally don’t think that if they do the Apple deal, it’s that great. But also, TV’s changing. Cable is not really a thing anymore. So who knows, but money definitely talks and ultimately, you want to grow your program, and it takes money to grow your program.” 

Washington State and Oregon State, the only two teams left in the Pac-12, are left with a few options: the same uncertainty and its own problems to worry about. 

Oregon State recently made a $162 million remodel on Reser Stadium, its football facility. The remodel was paid by $100 million in donor contributions, with $45 million in bonds that will be paid off for the next 35 years. According to OSU athletics, the money required to pay the principal and interest stands at a projected to be $2.6 million. 

Without other big name schools in the conference, it is less likely that they will bring in the same amount of revenue as in past years. 

“The Beavers and Cougars made it clear they are working together to find, or create a solution,” ESPN reported.

Commissioner Gloria Nevarez made pitches on behalf of the Mountain West to Washington State on Aug. 24 and Oregon State on Sept. 4. 

Other conferences such as the SEC, ACC and Conference USA have also faced changes through the realignment. The Mountain West, MAC and Sun Belt have remained the same. 

Regardless of what happens to Fresno State and the Pac-12 in the future, the decision to go along with the major conference realignment will be a polarizing topic for the NCAA for years to come.

“We have to be proactive. I mean we have to keep our eye on the ball and we have to keep our eye on the goal,” Jiménez-Sandoval said. “It’s an opportunity for Fresno State to reach higher levels of excellence. It could be another conference. It could be another opportunity.” 

View Comments (1)
Donate to The Collegian
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Fresno State Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian
Our Goal

Comments (1)

All The Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • R

    Raymond BanalesFeb 9, 2024 at 12:04 am

    Fresno State Bulldogs Men football Team has always been better than any power five school especially after their first meeting with university of southern california other conferences are missing out on more money currently that Fresno State Bulldogs Men football Team can bring for them