MWC takes new look at realignment


Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson and the conference's athletic directors met via teleconference Monday to discuss the league's latest role in realignment.

"We talked about a number of things," UNLV athletic director Jim Livengood said. "There have been no decisions. Everybody agreed to say the same thing right now and make sure we look at all our options."

ESPN.com reported the Mountain West talked with Brigham Young, Boise State and San Diego State about returning to the conference.

A UT San Diego report, however, disputed that story.

"I have not spoken to the (Mountain West) commissioner since May, and there's been no communication with them," San Diego State athletic director Jim Sterk told the newspaper.

"Our president has just been on a call with Boise State, and they haven't had any communication with the Mountain West, either, and the president at BYU hasn't had communications with them, either."

The Mountain West board of directors, consisting of school presidents, will meet in early December. No realignment decisions related to the conference are expected before then, but changes can occur quickly.

Maryland on Monday announced it will leave the Atlantic Coast Conference for the Big Ten in 2014, and Rutgers today is expected to announce it will jump from the Big East Conference to the Big Ten, also in 2014.

The Atlantic Coast Conference also appears to be looking at Big East members Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville and South Florida, and soon could invite two or three of those schools.

More Big East defections obviously would make that conference less attractive for Boise State and San Diego State, which agreed to send their football programs to that league next year. Their other sports will join separate conferences.

The Big East has been attempting to arrange a TV contract, which was a selling point for those schools. No deal has been reached, and it's questionable what kind of TV money a diluted Big East would command, especially if more schools depart.

Boise State and San Diego State each might have to pay a $10 million exit fee to the Big East if they stay in the Mountain West, unless the Big East's TV deal falls below a certain financial mark.

BYU left the Mountain West two years ago to become a football independent, and the Cougars sent their other sports to the West Coast Conference.

The Cougars wanted better exposure for their football program, and signed an eight-year contract with ESPN.

Under the new playoff system, however, an independent BYU is at a disadvantage in terms of making one of the top bowls. The top team from one of five conferences, including the Mountain West and the Big East, will get an automatic invitation when the new system takes effect in 2014.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.

 

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