Blog Entry

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

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

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.


Since: Oct 8, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 11:30 pm

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

Ricky, I like your thinking about adding Utah State to the mix, however you have Wyoming down twice.  I'd say add another school from California, Texas or somewhere back east and put UTEP in the western division.  And yes, Air Force should stay in the MWC or at least I'd like them to because of the geographic rivalries between Colorado State and Wyoming.  We've always had that rivalry with Air Force dating back to the old WAC days and I hate to see yet another one of Wyoming old time rivals leave when those have made for memorable, good football games.

We were starting to build a nice rivalry with Boise State and had that same thing with San Diego State until they decided to be the latest to bolt.  I'm fed up with the NCAA in general and fed up with the BCS.  The key to that whole story was "would have to be approved by the BCS."  Well, they're the problem.  They've only made things worse in college football, not better.  It's because of the BCS that we've lost natural rivalries with Utah and BYU and now SDSU and Boise State.  Prior to all this the MWC was building a nice, solid football conference that could contend with the likes of the ACC, the PAC 10 (now 12) or the Big 12.  Until this automatic qualifier stuff came into play, it's hurt college football and it's really hurt the smaller schools.  Yeah, we're not Ohio State who can sit 100,000 people a game because that's 1/5th the state population.  Yeah, most of the time we can't compete with the larger schools, but we've been known to give them a run for their money and pull off a few upsets from time to time (think Las Vegas Bowl against UCLA a few years ago when no one game Wyoming a chance, or think New Mexico Bowl two years ago when we upset Fresno State.)  But, I can guarantee you we do have a great stadium and our football games are just as much fun as any of the other school in the nation.

I remember back in the mid 90's Wyoming was ranked in the top 25, had a 10-2 or 9-3 record and got left out of a bowl game because "Wyoming doesn't travel well" and we lost the WAC Championship game to BYU.  Well, now the rest of the smaller schoold are getting hosed over by some uptight stiffs sitting in NYC because we're considered "fly over" country.  Granted, I've never been a supporter of a tournament at the D1 level because of the bowl games and the nostalgia of them, but it's time for them to have a tourney and break up the monopoly of the BCS itself.  I personally believe it's time for the BCS to die off as quick as possible and for a return to sanity in college football, and that includes getting ESPN's influence out as well.

Since: Aug 22, 2007
Posted on: December 7, 2011 11:15 pm

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

and the big east tv contract will be better than anything the conference usa and mountain west combined could come up with now and in the future. it remains to be seen how much money the networks will shell out for the big east contract, but it would certainly be far more than the contracts the c-sua and mountain west will get

Since: Dec 7, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 10:56 pm

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

The ACC is not going to have to "trump" the Big 12 or any other conference. The point is was trying to make is the BCS will go away, the bowl tie-ins will return and they will add a plus-1. The Big 12 just approved the plus-1 and the SEC approved it a few years ago. It will happen. As far as the Big East tv contract, it probably is better NOW but when it runs out do you think any network is going to pay big $ for those games. Make book on this: SEC, Big 12, Big 10, Pac !2, ACC, bowl-ties and a plus 1. The schools of the Big Least, CUSA, MWC, WAC, etc. will be left with the sh*t bowls and very little TV revenue. For the record, my school is a CUSA member who just lost their coach.   

Since: Apr 10, 2008
Posted on: December 7, 2011 10:40 pm

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

ESPN basically created the Big East and, in my opinion, however things shake out the teams that just joined the Big East will be better off than they were before.

Since: Aug 22, 2007
Posted on: December 7, 2011 10:17 pm

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

I do not agree with you about the ACC, but CUSA, MWC and the Big Least are SOL. The BCS will be gone in a year so Boise, SDSU, U of H, SMU and UCF will be right back where they started. Absolutely moronic.

fist of all, if there is a 4 superconference of 16 teams, which league is the ACC going to trump?  certainly not the SEC, BIG, or PAC. and a Big 12 league with Texas and Oklahoma will certainly be the 4th league....Not the ACC!

college sports is big business with all sorts of rumors and inside info. if there was a strong sense that the BCS was really going away, would these teams be making these moves?  and for argument sakes lets say the BCS goes away........the Big East tv contract will be light years better than anything the mountain west or conference usa can come up with

Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: December 7, 2011 9:46 pm

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

if we hadn't had teh cornyinsm of the sugar bowl, bosie st would be in the sugar bowl, again, va tech beat one top 25 team all season, and the other team it lost two twice and played a joke of a no-confernce schedule.  I mean the one loss tcu had was a better loss then the two va tech had to clemson, as tcu lost too likely heisman trophy winner rg iii and baylor

Since: Sep 28, 2010
Posted on: December 7, 2011 9:39 pm

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

I guess this makes a lot more sense than the Big East expansion.  Nobody in the east wants to see Boise State, San Diego State and Air Force if it joins.  I'm not sure the Big East will get any more TV money for these schools.

I think Air Force should stay in the merged conference.  If they do, I think the merged conference should pickup Utah St and divide into two 9 team geographic divisions as follows:

East Carolina
Southern Mississippi

Fresno St
Utah St
Colorodo St
Air Force

Since: Dec 7, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 9:14 pm

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

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Since: Dec 7, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 8:50 pm

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

Rod, it is the only move we had. I agree a 20 to 24 team conference is a bad idea but when the BCS goes away in 2014, it is a moot point. The bowls will go back to conference tie-ins, they will add a plus 1 and the Big Least is toast which fans of non-bcs schools will love. Personally, I am glad we do not play Bama, LSU, etc. anymore. These teams have too much talent and the beatings they hand out are not pretty.

Since: Dec 5, 2009
Posted on: December 7, 2011 8:49 pm

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

Well this might be a good idea for the two. With teams leaving them like they're bad habits, merging might be the ideal thing to do. Create a whole conference for the teams that cannot move on. The only question is will they be recognized by the BCS? More than likely not. This would be conference without the schools to make them a powerhouse. But the whole reason teams are leaving these conferences to begin with is because in order to have a shot at a BCS game they have to go unbeaten, no and's, it's, or but's about it. If they lose, they'll get to go to obscure bowl games nobody will really want to watch. If the two merge into one it will more than likely have the quality at the same level as the WAC.

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