Here is the news release from the Mountain West on the forming of a new conference with Conference USA:
UNIVERSITIES ANNOUNCE PLANS TO FORM CONFERENCE
DALLAS, Texas – Presidents and chancellors from 16 universities met in Dallas Sunday to discuss future conference membership plans and agreed to work on forming a new intercollegiate athletic association that would begin competition in the 2013-14 academic year.
This presidentially led association will ensure stability and be built upon the principles of operating at the highest level of integrity and sportsmanship, enhancing the student-athlete academic and competitive experience, bringing fiscal discipline into athletics and ensuring competitive fairness.
“This is an exciting development that will stabilize the current conferences and create the first truly national conference with members in five time zones and television viewership from coast to coast. This partnership brings together like-minded institutions to improve the integrity and stability of intercollegiate athletics,” said UNLV President Neal Smatresk. “We are moving our plans forward rapidly and expect to complete our conversations in the near future. Look for further announcements soon as we work together on this exciting new venture.”
Universities involved in the discussions were the United States Air Force Academy, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Colorado State University, East Carolina University, Fresno State, University of Hawaii, Marshall University, University of Nevada, Reno, University of New Mexico, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Rice University, University of Southern Mississippi, University of Texas at El Paso, Tulane University, The University of Tulsa and University of Wyoming. With the exception of Hawaii as a football only member, the participation would involve all sports.
The structure of the new conference will likely include:
· Membership of 18 to 24 universities
· National scope from the Atlantic Seaboard to Hawaii
· Championship football game format that includes semifinal match-ups
· Championship basketball tournament
· Regular season scheduling in divisions
· NCAA FBS affiliation
· Mechanisms to emphasize and improve academic standards and fiscal responsibility
The presidents and chancellors will have follow-up meetings over the next six months to fully develop the operational issues essential to the formation of the association.
OK, as I count the current team I get 16. To get to 18-24, who do you add?
I think Utah State, San Jose State and Louisiana Tech from the WAC are the leading candidates. Seems to me divisions will be East-West so most current MW teams will continue to play each other. I think UTEP will come over from the CUSA side to the West, kind of a reunion of an old WAC foe.
The league covers from coast-to-coast, but what television network(s) will want to take on these games, and pay the kind of money the schools are hoping to get? I get the feeling there will be a lot of mid-week games in football, something that led to the formation of the MW.
If there’s safety in numbers, which was what we were told last fall in so many words why a merger/association between the two teams was formed, then I guess that works. But just not seeing a ton of other benefits, unless some TV network pays a lot of money to televise sporting events. Remember, more teams may mean if other conferences come calling this new league could survive. But it also means more teams to split revenue with as well. Where is the revenue coming from?
A semifinal and championship game in football? Interesting, but how will that effect scheduling of non-conference games, or does it? Where will games be played, and will anyone go to them?
Heck, who is going to be the commissioner? Will it be MW commish Craig Thompson, who seems to be a candidate for the AD job at Minnesota? The CUSA commish, or someone completely new? Maybe I will get my resume updated (kidding).
Still lots of questions remain, kind of last last fall when it was first announced this would happen.
I know most of you have opinions on this, let me know what you think.