Idaho and New Mexico State, the two WAC teams still without a home after 2012, will not be able to join the Mountain West.
During his annual state of the conference address at the Mountain West media days on Wednesday in Las Vegas, commissioner Craig Thompson addressed questions regarding potential membership for the two schools still left in the dying Western Athletic Conference.
"We've informed them that they will not be members of the Mountain West," Thompson said on Wednesday. "Go onto Plan B, what ever Plan B may be."
San Jose State and Utah State, who will compete in the WAC for the last time in 2012, are joining the Mountain West after the season. After their addition and the departures of Boise State and San Diego State, the league will be set at 10 teams. That number is something that Thompson sounds very comfortable with for the time being.
"A 10-team football-playing conference is the way we're going to be for well into the future," Thompson said.
With Conference USA and Sun Belt also shutting the door, Idaho and New Mexico State now have two options. If they want to stay in the FBS past the 2012 season, they will need to declare themselves as independents.
This creates obvious scheduling challenges, as well as the need to negotiate your own media rights deal. The other option would be to seek a home in FCS play. For Idaho, that would likely returning to the Big Sky Conference -- the Vandals' home for football from 1963-95. New Mexico State has been a FBS/I-A school for the entirety of the program's history. Though that history have been notable for extended losing streaks, and the current longest bowl drought in FBS play.
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