By David K.
Fresno State and Nevada will have one more year to try and take the WAC championship, in football at least. In a reported settlement, the WAC and MWC have reached an agreement that would allow the two schools’ non-football teams to join the Mountain West in 2011, but the football teams would stay for one more year. In return, the WAC has lowered the exit fee to be paid from $5 million to $1 million for each school. The delay gives WAC commissioner Karl Benson time to try and refill the ranks of his conference.
The Mountain West, meanwhile, is going to be in flux over the next few years. Utah and BYU depart after this season, but Boise State will join next year. The following year, Nevada and Fresno State will join as well, meaning that in three years the conference will go from 9 to 8 to 10 members. This, of course, assumes that the conference shuffle will stay dormant over the next few years, something that’s by no means guaranteed, with reports flying that the Big East is interested in Mountain West member TCU, among other schools. But for now, at least, one more piece of the puzzle has fallen in to place.
UPDATE BY BRENDAN: I wonder if this resolution means things will start moving faster now in terms of the WAC’s future plans. I imagine they sort of needed to wait and see how this would shake out before committing to anything. Now, I wonder specifically if they’ll make a play for the (non-football, but improving in basketball) University of Denver, as has been rumored. And if so, I wonder if that will force the WCC’s hand to hurry up and decide what it wants to do. My sense is that DU strongly prefers the WCC (as do I, for obvious reasons — annual home-and-homes with Gonzaga!!) but doesn’t want to risk getting stuck in the geographically ridiculous and not-very-good Sun Belt forever if it spurns the WAC waiting for a call from the WCC that might never come.
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