Mountain West, San Diego State talks heating up

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Mountain West Conference has informed presidents and athletic directors of its members schools that San Diego State is expected to decide this week on whether to stay in the conference or join the Big East Conference, according to a source with direct knowledge of the discussion.

San Diego State has been in close discussions with the Mountain West in recent days over television revenue.

One Mountain West source said a decision should come before the Big East's meeting of presidents and athletic directors on Friday in Dallas. Another source classified a deal being "on a pretty fast track."

"They want back if terms are acceptable," a league source said. "They will need to accept our terms, and presidents will need to approve a deal."

Boise State and San Diego State were scheduled to join the Big East on July 1, but Boise opted to remain in the Mountain West in light of the Big East’s struggles to keep membership intact. Boise State's contract with the league to remain an all-sports member states San Diego State, its partner from the Big West, has the right of first option to join the league before any other school. That right of first option will expire on Jan. 31.

The Mountain West made concessions for Boise, including the payment of up to $3 million of Boise's exit fees from the Big East and a 50-percent payout of the league's playoff revenue to a team that makes a BCS bowl, a formula that favors Boise's well-established football program. (h/t to Idaho Statesman for the contract)

There's also a bonus system for teams that play on national television ranging from $300,000 to $500,000.

Since Boise's deal applies to all schools, it's uncertain what sort of concessions, if any, San Diego State would receive. The Aztecs don't have a Big East buyout since they no longer have a West Coast partner.

An official with knowledge of those discussions declined to name specifics of the deal or any potential hang-ups.

The Mountain West is expanding as part of its renegotiated television contract with CBS that runs until 2016. CBS has a four-year option to retain the Mountain West after the deal expires.

If San Diego State bolts, one option for the Big East is to completely drop the West Coast footprint that it started with Boise and SDSU in mind, according to a league source who said up to eight teams are potential San Diego State/Boise replacements.

ESPN reported UMass and Tulsa are two potential Big East targets.


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