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C-USA, Mountain West all-sports merger on horizon

Posted on: December 7, 2011 4:41 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 6:03 pm
 

NEW YORK – With the Mountain West and Conference USA losing at least five members to the Big East, those two leagues are now looking at an all-sports merger instead of a full-scale football expansion as originally planned, sources told CBSSports.com.

Conference USA and the Mountain West initially planned to combine into a separate football-only league with between 20 and 24 members and conducted an Oct. 15 press conference to announce the news. The winners from C-USA and the Mountain West would meet in a playoff with, they hoped, the winner earning a BCS bowl berth.

A BCS bowl berth, however, would have had to be approved by the BCS.

However, that plan has lost steam by the loss of Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU and UCF to the Big East. Instead, C-USA and the Mountain West are considering a merger in all sports. Sources have indicated that Craig Thompson, the current commissioner of the Mountain West, would become the commissioner of the new merged league, while Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky would step down.

A vote on the merger could come by next month, sources said.

The merged league would consist of: East Carolina, Marshall, Memphis, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB and UTEP from C-USA and Air Force, Colorado State, New Mexico, UNLV and Wyoming from the Mountain West along with new members Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada for a 17-team conference. Air Force was being sought after by the Big East, but the Gazette reported Tuesday evening that the Falcons would remain in the Mountain West.

After the initial merger announcement to as many as 24 schools on Oct. 15, Banowsky e-mailed officials at Conference USA and the Mountain West a week later about a proposed new conference, entitled “BCS and The Big East Expansion (An Alternative Plan).”

“Attached is a document that might find of interest regarding conference realignment,” Banowsky wrote on the e-mail, obtained by CBSSports.com.

That eight-page document presented two possible conferences mergers: one with 28 teams and another with 32 teams. They included all the Big East, Conference USA and Mountain West teams, plus a few other teams from other leagues. The plan was never endorsed by the Big East and didn’t get much further than being reported by various media outlets.

To combat the departures of the five schools, the Mountain West had decided to add San Jose State and Utah State. But adding those schools has now been put on hold, sources said.

Comments

Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: February 8, 2012 7:11 pm
 

C-USA, Mountain West all-sports merger on horizon

It is funny how all of this will work out, now that Memphis has jumped to the big Least.  The new MWC/CUSA would be the first 16 team conference, with East and West Divisions.  The East would consist of East Carolina, Marshall, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB and UTEP, while the West would consist of Air Force, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, New mexico, UNLV, and Wyoming.  In the mean time, the Big East still has to worry about being raided by the Big 12, and now will added pressure if the ACC decides to go from 14 to 16 teams.  Sometimes things work out rather crazy.



Since: Feb 7, 2012
Posted on: February 7, 2012 4:30 pm
 

C-USA, Mountain West all-sports merger on horizon

The WAC teams receive about $400,000 per year each for their contract with ESPN. The MW teams will receive $1.6 Million this year. Considering the C-USA buyout is around $7,000,000, why would any team want to leave a conference that nets $1.5 Million +, and is renegotiating for more, to go to a conference that doesn't even guarantee 1/2 Million yearly and would get less once more teams are added? 

The resonable alternative would be to stop the merger with the C-USA / MW and have the MW merge with the WAC (take all the good teams) and grab UTEP. Fire Craig Thompson and hire someone, who can negotiate with ESPN (the worldwide leader and the "Hair" don't get along). See if any network would take a western 16 team league for $32 Million a year or more, by absorbing the WAC and MW payouts and playing a schedule that allows for more air time. Agree to play on weekdays and regain the exposure lost through the deal with Comcast/CBS/NBC (the Mtn.). Add a championship game and try to bring the member institutions $$$ instead of being vain (the "Hair"), trying to get a non-existant BCS AQ slot and spreading too small of teams, from too small of markets, with almost no market share across the whole US.

Neither the MW nor the WAC can compete with the PAC 12 or Big XII. C-USA cannot compete with the Big (L)East, ACC or SEC. So why would a merger be able to compete with them all? A regional "superconference" with a championship game, retaining all of the bowl affiliations that the MW and WAC have would be able to attract more interest, create/retain more intense rivalries and keep travel costs low. The engine, however, would be the MW, not the WAC. Teams don't leave the MW for the WAC, they leave the $400,000 to get $1.5 Million. When the Aggies, Vandals, and Trojans (no not USC) are your big dogs and they all want to bolt, you got problems. Both Benson and CT need to go. 



Since: Sep 1, 2011
Posted on: December 25, 2011 2:08 pm
 

C-USA, Mountain West all-sports merger on horizon

This is a great oppurtunity for the WAC to get back to being a more viable conference and invite UTEP, Tulsa, Tulane, Rice, and New Mexico. Those teams would give them a total of 12 football members, 16 basketball schools. It could hold a championship game in football, and get more bowl affilations.



Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: December 12, 2011 2:12 am
 

C-USA, Mountain West all-sports merger on horizon

Holy cow! Hawaii and East Carolina in the same conference??? Really??? It'll be hard enuff on the teams to come out to Vegas and CA to play from the east coast, but Hawaii too? No, the MWC needs to collect western schools (WAC) and CUSA needs to stay on the east coast.



Since: Oct 30, 2011
Posted on: December 10, 2011 10:51 am
 

C-USA, Mountain West all-sports merger on horizon

ECU is the one getting screwed out of all of this. SD State? Really? East Carolina should get the invite if Air Force backs off but the Big East is leaning toward Temple. Like I said, ECU is getting screwed royally.



Since: Jan 6, 2007
Posted on: December 9, 2011 5:28 pm
 

C-USA, Mountain West all-sports merger on horizon

Have you ever been to Colorado states campus...it's horrible, it looks like it was built in the 1970's with plastic and polyester.  Moby Arena is like a "big" high school court and the football stadium reminds me of a flat doughnut.  Fort Collins is a nice town...but the school is horrible.



Since: Jan 6, 2007
Posted on: December 9, 2011 5:21 pm
 

C-USA, Mountain West all-sports merger on horizon

UTEP actually has history with the Western teams...they were part of the "old WAC" before the mountain west.  I know, I missed the rivalry basketball games with them when the Mountain West began.



Since: Jan 6, 2007
Posted on: December 9, 2011 5:13 pm
 

C-USA, Mountain West all-sports merger on horizon

Continental Conference



Since: Sep 29, 2011
Posted on: December 9, 2011 4:24 pm
 

C-USA, Mountain West all-sports merger on horizon

 wonder if this new conference will be called Conference USA, Mountain West or come up with a new name. Mountain West name would no longer make sense if there are eastern schools
Well, it hasn't stopped the "Big East" has it with Boise and SDSU?  LOL 

I agree though, this whole thing is ruining everything we grew up and knew about college sports...dead are some rivalries, dead will be some hopes of fans traveling to near-by away games....like I can see so many SDSU fans traveling to UCF for a game!  I'm sure the Houston fans will travel well to Boise...LOL.  



Since: Oct 6, 2011
Posted on: December 9, 2011 2:12 pm
 

C-USA, Mountain West all-sports merger on horizon

I wonder if this new conference will be called Conference USA, Mountain West or come up with a new name. Mountain West name would no longer make sense if there are eastern schools. The 5 power conferences have been ruining college football for all the other FBS conferences and making sure there is never a playoff.


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