One of the remaining two Pac-12 universities has revealed the potentially dire effects of conference realignment.
In a letter to students, faculty, and alumni, Oregon State University president Jayathi Murthy and athletics director Scott Barnes said that the school’s athletic department is facing as much as a 44% decline in revenue for fiscal year 2025.
OSU arrived at these projections through “a comparison between the media rights revenue and overall revenue streams of a typical Power 5 conference school (like one in the Pac-12) and a Group 5 conference school.”
The school officials stressed that its No. 1 priority will be funding its annual $10.4 million commitment to athletic scholarships, which have historically been covered in part by the Pac-12 Conference revenue distribution.
Oregon State is also still recovering from the effects of COVID-19: Because no fans were allowed to attend games during the height of the pandemic and, therefore, teams were bringing in very little revenue, the university advanced $31.8 million to the athletic department “to sustain operations with the expectation that it would be repaid over time based on historic revenues.”
Pac-12 realignment could also have a profound effect on the area surrounding OSU. The city of Corvallis — as well as other cities and towns adjoining it — is projecting multi-million dollar revenue losses to the local travel and hospitality industries and lost tax revenue.
The Oregon House Interim Committee On Higher Education will hold a hearing on Thursday concerning the effects of Pac-12 realignment on Oregon and Oregon State.
Oregon State and its fellow Pac-12 survivor, Washington State, are doing all they can to preserve the conference. Earlier in September, as part of a larger lawsuit, the schools successfully petitioned for a temporary restraining order preventing a vote to disband the conference.
The Beavers finished new renovations to Reser Stadium just before the beginning of the 2023 football season.