Blog Entry

WAC sues Fresno, Nevada and Mountain West

Posted on: September 14, 2010 2:20 pm
It's still not clear, though, where Boise State stands on this.

WAC commissioner Karl Benson said Tuesday that Boise is not a party to the lawsuit that is trying to force Fresno and Nevada to stay through the 2011 season. But since it will not officially join the Mountain West until July 1, is it not a defendant in the suit either. At least that's the way Benson sees it. That's called legal limbo, folks. It's also good for Boise unless you consider that some of their monies contributed to the WAC conference coffers (i.e. bowl money, dues, basketball tournament revenue, TV revenue) will be used to fund the legal challenge.

Obviously, the WAC needs until 2012 to attract other members to remain a viable conference. Benson said that by 2012, the WAC could have as many as 12 teams. It currently has six. In 2012, the NCAA is increasing the minimum number, from six to seven, of conference teams needed to retain an automatic berth in the NCAA basketball tournament, Benson said.

There isn't much doubt that the WAC can lure teams to replace Fresno and Nevada, but it needs time. There are scores of I-AA programs out there that would kill to join the WAC. But a current NCAA moratorium on I-AA teams jumping up to I-A expires in June. That means the soonest a current I-AA program could join the WAC as a full I-A member would be 2013.

If the WAC doesn't win this suit, it will be OK in terms of BCS and NCAA Tournament automatic qualifying status, Benson said. At least in the short term.

"We are not expecting that any of this will jeopardize any of our automatic qualifying status," Benson said.

He also said the WAC will remain part of the BCS through the current four-year deal that began this year. The BCS is compromised of all of Division I-A. The WAC does not have an automatic bid to a BCS bowl for its champion. That's part of the reason Boise is moving to the Mountain West next season.

Benson added that he doesn't believe that Fresno and Nevada have begun scheduling Mountain West contests for 2011.


Since: Aug 31, 2006
Posted on: September 15, 2010 1:47 pm

WAC sues Fresno, Nevada and Mountain West

This seems pretty cut and dry to me ... You have to announce you are leaving BEFORE July 1.  Aug 18th is after July 1 on my calander.

I agree with the Fresno president that it is a shame that this results in costly legal fees, but I think the blame lays squarely on the shoulders of Nevada and Fresno.

If Nevada and Fresno want to leave earlier than the rules allow, THEY need to initiate the discussion with the WAC, not the other way around.

I think Nevada especially looks bad in all this, since they are claiming the agreed to the dates and the exit fees, but they didn't really mean it when they agreed to it, and now they want to back out on their promise.  Lame for a institution of "higher learning".

I suspect this won't be a long court battle ... it's pretty cut and dry that they signed the contract of the bylaws with July 1 as the date.  Clearly Boise State knew the deadline, and announced it was leaving BEFORE the deadline.  Fresno and Nevada knew the rule and just didn't follow them.  That's a pretty simple court case......


Now, the NEXT legal battle, over the $5M exit fee is going to be really really interesting to watch.  Is a university president's word worth anything anymore or not.  They agreed to the deal.  Now they want to renig on the promise ....

It's going to matter for alot of things ....

Take scheduling ... The ADs from any two teams talk and discuss scheduling a series of games in the future.  They get it all worked out, and agree on the phone "Yep, we'll play you at your place in 20XX and at our place in 20YY.  Great."  Then they start the paperwork mailing and faxing back and forth to get all the right signatures (AD from each school, probably legal consul for each school, etc.)  If Nevada wins this case, that whole process is thrown out the window.  It doesn't matter what anyone promises to anyone else at any school at any time.  it can all be just tossed out the window.  Buyout clauses will mean nothing, because Nevada set the precident that you don't have to pay a buy out clause if you don't want to.

Let me ask it this way ...
Let's say everything had gone done the other way.  FSU and Nevada honored their promise to stay, the deal between the WAC and BYU was struck.  NOW, would Nevada expect now to get all the benefits of that deal?  What is the WAC then came out and said "Well, everyone in the WAC EXCEPT Nevada gets to part of this deal, because the Nevada president only agreed to the deal on the phone and never signed.  So Nevada will not be included in the split payments from BYU for the games, Nevada will not be included in the BBall payouts from this deal, Nevada will not be included in the teams that play BYU, etc."  Nevada would be furious (and rightly so).  They had agreed to the deal, been party to the discussions and the votes, they had agreed to the good parts of the deal.  They would claim that as has always been the case, as soon as the president agreed to the deal, it was in effect, while the paperwork made it's rounds to all the presidents in all the schools and all the legal conculs, etc.

If Nevada would want the GOOD parts of this deal based on the president agreeing to the deal, they should also be willing to accept the BAD parts of the deal as well.

Since: Mar 18, 2007
Posted on: September 15, 2010 1:36 pm

WAC sues Fresno, Nevada and Mountain West

I wonder how it would work if these two conferences combined? The MWC was of course just a split off of the wac.

I wonder if they were to combine but then to put the stronger teams in football in an "A" division and the weaker teams in a "B" division and do the same for basketball if the NCAA would recognize that?

The odd thing would be that you would end up with different conference alignments for the two sports.

I also wonder if any MWC schools would consider going back to the WAC? Wyoming seems to be the most logical candidate, and perhaps CSU, but why would they want to other than to be more competitive?


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