Sunday, November 29, 2015         

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WAC said to be near breakup agreement

By Ferd Lewis


It appears Fresno State and Nevada have not seen the end of the University of Hawaii in football, after all.

As part of an impending settlement between the Western Athletic Conference and the two breakaway members, Fresno State and Nevada would make the 2011 football season their WAC finale before leaving for the Mountain West, not the current one as the two schools had vowed.

A proposed settlement detailing their exit date and financial penalties involved could be put before the WAC Board of Directors -- which is composed of member presidents and chancellors -- this morning, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

But there is "no guarantee it will be decided (today) -- or in two weeks," said a person briefed on the talks. "With this many lawyers involved, anything could happen."

The WAC and UH refuted Internet reports yesterday of a settlement being concluded. "From my understanding, the WAC CEOs have a conference call (this) afternoon Hawaii time and a decision may be made at that time," UH athletic director Jim Donovan said in a statement. "Until the conference call is concluded, there is really nothing else to add."

Manoa chancellor Virginia Hinshaw, who represents UH on the board, was not immediately available for comment.

The six remaining WAC schools (UH, Idaho, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State and Utah State) have been adamant since Fresno State and Nevada announced on Aug. 18 their plans to leave that the deserters remain through the 2011 football season.

The presidents of Fresno State and Nevada have said their intention was to leave June 30, 2011.

Commissioner Karl Benson has called any departure before 2012 a "line in the sand," saying the remaining schools would be unable to fill out their schedules on such short notice and be irreparably hurt in scheduling and in their TV agreement by an earlier exit.

Meanwhile, several proposals have reportedly been circulated about how much the departing schools would have to pay when they leave. Initially, the WAC had insisted on the $5 million per school that was part of the so-called solidarity pact agreed to in early August, but recent indications are the figure will be under $2 million and could involve some loss of shared WAC revenue.

In an e-mail, Benson said, "I can't respond to these questions (about possible terms)."

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