Posted on: October 15, 2011 12:20 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 12:33 pm

Mountain West, C-USA Merger not BCS-Worthy

The Mountan West and Conference USA announced a long-planned, football-only merger yesterday that has as one of its goals acquiring an automatic BCS berth for its champion.

I cannot imagine any chance of that happening.

The Mountain West, on its own, has been hoping to meet the three-part qualification standard for becoming an AQ conference for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.  It looks like that will fall short, although the league should have an opportunity to appeal to the BCS presidential oversight committee.  I can't see any non-political reason for that appeal to be granted.

The qualification standard has three parts and is based on a four-year cycle that ends with the current season.  The parts are the highest ranked team in the league, the average BCS computer rankings of all the teams in the league, and the number of top 25 teams in the league.

If a non-AQ conference finishes the four-year cycle in the top six conferences in the first two categories, it becomes AQ. If it finishes in the top five in one of the two, seventh in the other, and meets a minimum standard in the third category, the league can appeal to the POC.  That's where the MWC stands entering this season.

The Mountain West is in the top five in the highest ranked team category and a distant seventh (yes, well behind the Big East) in the second category.  It is not mathematically possible for the MWC to finish sixth, and it hasn't been a particularly good year for the league anyway.

Conference USA is in a battle for 8th place in this list with the WAC, and both are well behind the MWC in all three categories, and that's the problem for this association's attempt to get an AQ spot in the BCS.  Adding C-USA dilutes the Mountain West.  

That is not even taking into consideration that both leagues are under attack from the Big East, which is looking to grow its membership.

In a semi-related note, the Big East's AQ status is not in doubt for at least two more years, and maybe longer, if it can get its membership numbers up and stabilized.  There is no formal process for removing AQ status from a conference like there is for adding it.  That doesn't mean the BCS poobahs can't create a process or strip a league of its AQ status without one, but it will be at least the 2014 season before that would happen.

In an effort to prevent that, the Big East will invite Air Force, Boise St (MWC), UCF (C-USA) and Navy to join its ranks next week, Brett McMurphy posted yesterday.  Other reports say that SMU and Houston (C-USA) will recieve invites as well.  That doesn't mean those invites will be accepted.

There may be other, perfectly good reasons for these two leagues to work together like this (TV, scheduling, etc), but getting a BCS berth for its champion looks like a pipe dream.

Posted on: January 16, 2011 1:51 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2011 1:55 pm

WAC Automaic Bid Will Survive

by Jerry Palm

New NCAA legislation that passed this week will ensure that the WAC will retain its automatic bid to the NCAA tournament in basketball.  It was in danger of being stripped after the many defections from the WAC to the Mountain West because of a lack of "continuity of membership."  The new rules that were passed this week relax those restrictions.  A conference must now have at least seven active members that sponsor men's basketball, as well as six that sponsor at least five other men's sports.

The WAC loses Boise State to the Mountain West after this season, and Nevada, Fresno State and Hawaii will depart after the 2011-12 season.  The league has already announced the addition of Texas State, Texas-San Antonio and Denver (non-football member) for the 2012-13 season, giving it seven members, assuming nobody else defects.

That's not a given, which is why commissioner Karl Benson isn't standing pat.  The San Antonio Express-News reported this week that the league was likely to add more teams from a list of candidates that includes Cal-Davis, Cal Poly, Cal St Bakersfield, Lamar, Louisiana-Lafayette, Portland State, Sam Houston State, Seattle and Utah Valley State.  Only UL-Lafayette currently plays Division I-A football.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: December 14, 2010 4:48 pm

WAC Auto Bid May Be Safe After All

WAC Commissioner Karl Benson, whose league seems to be under attack from all sides, got in touch with me after reading the blog entry below to assure me that one of those sides is not likely to be the loss of the league's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

At the very end of that blog entry, I mentioned that the WAC might have to get a rule changed to keep that bid.  Benson sent me an e-mail saying that, in fact, some changes are in the works.  He described some proposed legislation that would loosen the requirements for having an automatic bid to the tournament.  He said the new rules would create a definition of a "multisport conference," and that any league that met that definition and had seven basketball playing memebers would receive an automatic bid.  He said the WAC would meet those requirements and that those new standards would be in place, if passed, effective with the 2011-12 season.  The vote on the propsed changes is scheduled to take place in January.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: WAC
Posted on: December 11, 2010 12:05 am
Edited on: December 11, 2010 12:22 am

WAC Automatic Bid in Danger

With the announcement today that Hawai'i is leaving the WAC for the Big West beginning in 2012-13, the WAC is now in danger of losing its automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

As of now, the WAC roster for the 2012-13 season is Idaho, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico St, San Jose St, Texas-San Antonio, Texas St., Utah St.

The NCAA Bylaw that governs automatic bids in men's basketball says that a conference must have seven "core" institutions, and that six of those must have played together in the same conference for five years.  A core institution is one that has been a Division I member for at least eight years.  The WAC will have seven core institutions, but Hawai'i leaving drops the league to only five that have played together for five years.

Now, there is a two year grace period to try to get things back in line, but UTSA and Texas St. won't join until 2012-13.  They'll have to play in the league five years before the WAC meets both requirements again.  The grace period only covers the first two.

That means three years without an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament for the WAC.  That is, unless they can get the rule changed.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: WAC
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