Canzano: Oregon State to the Big 12 ... in an Olympic way?

Save Story
Leer en español

Estimated read time: 7-8 minutes

The Big 12 Conference has had ongoing conversations with Oregon State about adding the Beavers women's gymnastics program next season.

A Big 12 source told me on Wednesday: "All the coaches are in favor of it."

The Beavers gymnastics program has enjoyed team success and featured individual talents such as Olympic gold medalist Jade Carey. OSU invested $7.15 million in a new gymnastics practice facility — a 20,000-foot venue that opened in 2021 and is the largest in the Pac-12.

Next season, the Big 12 will include the women's gymnastics programs at Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, Denver, Iowa State, Utah, and West Virginia. The Beavers could theoretically be added as the eighth team.

No comment or official news from Oregon State or the Big 12 so far. The Big 12 would still need to put the potential addition of OSU to a vote. But the move makes a lot of sense for both sides.

Does this mean all sports at OSU (and Washington State) are eventually headed to the Big 12? I'm being told to pump the brakes on that front. This maneuver might be nothing more than the Big 12 trying to fortify gymnastics competition by adding a program with some proof of performance. There are dozens of examples of Olympic sports programs that compete in a variety of conferences as lone sports.

Still, it looks like another relationship-building play by Oregon State Athletic Director Scott Barnes, doesn't it? Remember, Barnes already signed on for a home-and-home football series with Big 12 members Kansas State and Houston.

The AD told me as those football deals were being announced: "This is an intentional strategy."

Spanning the Globe:

MOUNTAIN WEST UPDATE: Mountain West Conference presidents and chancellors will meet in early June. MWC Commissioner Gloria Nevarez told me on Wednesday that the agenda includes matters ranging from "A-Z."

Nevarez mentioned several high-priority topics, including updates on the various antitrust lawsuits and the potential for student-athletes to one day become employees. I asked Nevarez if the MWC conference presidents still have an appetite for a reverse merger with the Pac-12.

She said: "We are open to anything that makes us stronger. Certainly, that's been one of the concepts out there."

BIG GUYS VS. LITTLE GUYS: The Big Ten and SEC are pulling away from the rest of college athletics because of ballooning media-rights contracts and growing College Football Playoff distributions. But Nevarez said she was encouraged to see that roster limitations for football and men's basketball were included in reports about the recent settlement conversations.

There's concern that without caps on the rosters, the top programs would just stockpile talent.

"It prevents the warehousing of talent," she told me. "If the transfer portal has taught us anything, it's that student-athletes want to play."

PAC-12 REBUILD: Oregon State and Washington State insist that a rebuild of the Pac-12 Conference is their primary objective. But we all know they're watching the drama happening in the ACC and hoping it creates an opportunity for them to either add schools or join a "Power 4" conference.

MEDIA RIGHTS: The Beavers and Cougars finalized the deal to sell the rights to their 13 combined home football games to The CW (11 games) and Fox (2 games). I asked Nevarez what she thought of the deal.

She said of The CW's continued foray into college football: "New players bring more options. It's amazing that Washington State and Oregon State got 100 percent distribution for their games. That helps us when we play there."

NORTHWEST STUFF: I fumbled a question in Monday's Mailbag from a reader who asked if Oregon-Washington State and OSU-Washington would continue to schedule each other in football. I misread the question. I'm taking another stab here.

All four schools had to adjust football schedules to make the rivalry games work for the next two seasons. I'm skeptical they'll be able to play each other anytime soon.

The Big Ten has nine conference games, for example. Throw in the rivalry game and you're at 10 games. The Huskies, Ducks, Cougars, and Beavers are all booked out for several years on non-conference football games. Oregon State has openings on the football schedule in 2029 and 2031. Washington State has one opening in 2033. And Oregon and UW probably could do something, but not until 2031. There doesn't seem to be a lot of enthusiasm for these games. For now, it feels like they're on the back burner.

TUNE IN: You can hear the full audio of my 1-on-1 with Gloria Nevarez on today's radio show at 3:20 p.m. PT. Portland Timbers General Manager Ned Grabavoy is on the show at 4:24 p.m.

Tune in via 750-AM (Portland) or listen in Eugene (102.9-FM), Klamath Falls (960-AM), Roseburg (1490-AM), or stream the show live.

ASU HIRE: Arizona State is expected to promote Graham Rossini to the job of athletic director. It's an internal promotion by Michael Crow, the ASU president. Rossini is an ASU graduate who spent his entire collegiate career working in Tempe. His lack of outside experience has some folks nervous, but there's something to be said for hiring a candidate who knows where the skeletons — and money — are buried.

FINALE: The Pac-12 Baseball Tournament is being held next week in Scottsdale. The brackets are out, but the seedings aren't yet set. Pool play will take place Tuesday-Thursday next week. The semifinals are on Friday, and the championship game will be held on Saturday.

I'll be in Scottsdale to cover the event. The final Pac-12 Network live broadcasts will be Thursday's semifinal games. Roxy Bernstein is on the broadcast. Friday's championship game is on ESPN2.

LIGHTS OUT: Pac-12 Commission Teresa Gould tells me the Pac-12 Network signal will go dark on June 30.

SIDE HUSTLE: The Pac-12 appointed Michael Molinari as senior vice president of business development and studio operations for Pac-12 Enterprises on Wednesday. Pac-12 Enterprises is the broadcast production arm of the conference. The entity will produce football games for Oregon State and Washington State next season. I'm told it also aims to pick up live sports production work for other conferences and sports leagues. Stay tuned on that front. It appears the Pac-12 wants to grow this into more than a lemonade stand.

CAL BASKETBALL: Coach Mark Madsen snapped some photos with old friends at the ACC men's basketball meetings this week. Madsen posed at the event with Virginia coach Tony Bennett and Georgia Tech coach Damon Stoudamire.

STANFORD FOOTBALL: The kickoff time for Stanford's football opener vs. TCU on Aug. 30 has been set. The non-conference game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. PT at Stanford Stadium (ESPN).

UTAH LISTENING: Count me among those tuned into the new weekly podcast that Utah football brothers Logan and Spencer Fano just launched.

Said Spencer: "Hulk has a super cool origin story. Iron Man has a super cool origin story. This is the Fano boys' origin story."

The Fano brothers grew up in a double-wide manufactured home. They were born about two and a half years apart. The first episode features Logan and Spencer driving and talking about their upbringing.

I wrote a heartfelt column about Logan last football season after he suffered a season-ending knee injury. I remain impressed with the Fano family.

Canzano: Oregon State to the Big 12 ... in an Olympic way?

DONATE A SUBSCRIPTION: I want to give a fist bump to generous readers who have donated subscriptions for those unable to afford them. I've heard from several grateful readers, particularly seniors on a fixed budget, who appreciate the ability to receive this publication courtesy of a donated subscription.

There's an isolation that some retirees struggle with. Having an outlet to engage, interact, and feel like part of a community is meaningful. Patrick, who gets along on his Social Security benefits, put it beautifully earlier this week in the comment section:

Canzano: Oregon State to the Big 12 ... in an Olympic way?

If you'd like to donate a subscription to a senior on a fixed budget, please use this link. I'm appreciative of everyone who reads, shares, subscribes and makes this publication part of their day.

Read more of columnist John Canzano exclusively at

Most recent John Canzano stories

Related topics

John CanzanoSportsCollege
John Canzano is a sports columnist and radio show host. He's worked at six newspapers and has won 11 Associated Press Sports Editors Awards in column writing, investigative reporting and projects. He lives in Oregon and hosts a daily statewide radio show there. Read more of his content at


From first downs to buzzer beaters, get’s top sports stories delivered to your inbox weekly.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast