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WSU president Kirk Schulz ‘shocked’ to hear news of Pac-12’s defections

PULLMAN — Washington State president Kirk Schulz has spoken.

In the aftermath of Washington and Oregon’s defection to the Big Ten, all but dismantling the Pac-12, university president Kirk Schulz said he was “shocked” to hear the news in a statement released Monday evening.

In the statement, Schulz confirmed that on Aug. 1, Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff presented the conference’s board of directors with a new media rights deal via Apple, which would help keep the conference together as its current deal is set to expire after this season. The directors, Schulz wrote, all seemed to agree on the deal.

That’s when Oregon and Washington reversed course, which is when Schulz and athletic director Pat Chun started doing what they say they are now: “We talked with multiple conference commissioners, presidents and chancellors, athletic directors, and other leaders in college athletics. These efforts continued through the weekend — and will continue until we find a suitable home for Washington State athletics. I am in regular contact with the leaders from the remaining Pac‑12 schools and will continue to do so moving forward.”

Schulz added that he plans to assemble a group of faculty, staff, athletic administrators and student leaders “to provide feedback on conference options for WSU as our pathway forward becomes more clear in the days and weeks ahead.” That group, Schulz wrote, will be shared with the public by the end of the week.

Here is the statement in full.

“Dear Cougar Nation,

The last few weeks have been tumultuous for Washington State University and the Pac‑12 Conference. The decision by the University of Washington and the University of Oregon to accept offers to join the Big Ten Conference sealed the fate of the Pac‑12. By the end of the day on Friday, only four members of the Pac‑12 remained — Washington State, Oregon State, Cal‑Berkeley, and Stanford.

The Pac‑12 Board of Directors is composed of all the sitting presidents and chancellors of the current member institutions, and we met 30 times over the past 12 months in an attempt to work out a future media rights deal that all conference members found suitable. During this time, we had multiple media partners spend months discussing media deals only to drop out at the last minute, mostly due to the rapidly changing sports media environment.

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