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Saturday, October 25, 2014         

COLLEGE ATHLETICS


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Mountain West stands firm with 10 members

By Ferd Lewis

POSTED:



The Mountain West Conference passed on expansion yesterday and appears set to open the 2012 football season with 10 members.

The MWC Board of Directors concluded two days of meetings in Las Vegas yesterday, saying "the Board feels strongly the membership configuration already established going forward creates outstanding prospects for future success."

In 2012, 10 teams will make up the conference. Added teams in bold.

Air Force
Boise State
Colorado State
Fresno State
Hawaii
Nevada
New Mexico
San Diego State
UNLV
Wyoming

A league spokesman said he was unable to say if a vote had even been taken.

WAC commissioner Karl Benson said he was told by MWC commissioner Craig Thompson that the MWC will be a 10-member conference for the "foreseeable future."

Since the Dec. 10 announcement of Hawaii as the 10th team for the 2012 football season, speculation had hovered over the annual January meeting about whether expansion might take the league to 12 members.

The league is known to covet a Texas member to replace Texas Christian, which leaves after the 2011 season. Meanwhile, San Jose State, Idaho and Utah State from the Western Athletic Conference have sought to follow Boise State (2011), Fresno State (2012), Nevada (2012) and Hawaii into the MWC.

But the MWC directors said, "Over the past two days, the Board of Directors has engaged in a very thorough discussion of several key topics pertinent to the future of the Mountain West Conference. This has included, but not been limited to, issues related to television, the Bowl Championship Series and membership.

"The Board feels strongly the membership configuration already established going forward creates outstanding prospects for future success. In addition, we are continuing with our strategic initiatives related to our television partnerships and the MWC's efforts to effect change in the BCS structure. The Board is excited about what is undoubtedly a bright future for the conference."

The MWC board's next scheduled meeting is in June. Any team that hopes to leave the WAC for the MWC in 2012 would have to announce its intention by June 30.

The MWC's stance opened the way for the WAC to secure its future with current members Idaho, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State and San Jose State and upcoming additions Texas State, Texas-San Antonio and Denver (basketball only) plus some yet-to-be-named future members.

Benson said, "the WAC will begin to implement" an expansion plan based upon "the options open to the WAC."

Benson said he expects that to be done by April 1. A nine-member football, 12-member basketball structure is believed to be the goal.






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