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CUSA & Mountain West to Form New Conference

Feb
08
2012
By
Category: Conference USA Expansion & Realignment, Featured News, Mountain West Expansion & Realignment, NCAA Conference Expansion & Realignment

cusa mwc3 CUSA & Mountain West to Form New ConferenceUpdate: It is official. CUSA and the Mountain West will both fold their conferences and merge under a yet to be named conference name. Member ship could still grow with schools such as Temple, Utah St., San Jose St. and others as potential candidates.

With Memphis no longer in the mix as they head for the Big East, Conference USA and the Mountain West can now progress with their merger plans. As there appear to be no more pending departures, the two conferences, hoping to find some stability in the form of an alliance or merger, can finally do so without the threat of another school leaving. That is of course assuming that Air Force does indeed opt to remain in the Mountain West and does not join Navy (as well as SDSU and Boise St.) in the Big East for football.

Later this week, the CUSA Board of Directors have planned to meet to discuss all aspects of a Mountain West merger.

On the table include what is the front-runner idea at this point: an all-sports merger. The merger would combine 15 schools for all-sports with Hawaii for football only.

Likely divisions would include:
West: Hawaii*, Fresno St., Nevada, UNLV, New Mexico, Air Force, Colorado St., Wyoming
East: UTEP, Tulsa, Rice, Tulane, USM, UAB, ECU, Marshall

Another option remains to merge for a football alliance, but that would mean that CUSA would need to remain at 8 with no new invites and the Mountain West conference would likely need to add Hawaii as an all-sports member or invite Utah St. as the 8th all-sports member to remain a stable Division 1 conference. Such a situation would leave (2) 8 school conferences for non-football sports and 17 schools for football. This is a less likely scenario to happen versus a full, all-sports merge.

Many will look at the distance between schools and the schools comprising the merged conference and question the move. But it’s the strength in numbers that remain the primary driver behind the merge. A single voice will do more to keep the member schools in the conversations with the current BCS conferences, while as two separate entities, the political power will be minimal. With 16 schools from 13 states, the conference will at least have political power behind it, since it will not have the best media markets to help boost the television revenue.

 

For a glimpse as to what this conference would look like, here’s a map:

View CollegeSportsInfo.com CUSA / Mountain West Conference in a larger map
 

 

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  • Scott

     

    Lately, I have been doing a lot
    of research, trying to predict East Carolina University’s future conference affiliation.
    The first question that comes to mind is why has The Big East basically ignored
    their application when the poll’s I’ve seen gives them a seventy-plus
    percentage approval as opposed to single-digit percentages, at best, for any
    other university under consideration? Odd!

     

    Then I started thinking about the SEC. Dreamer? You bet! But
    then things started to-make-a-lot-of-sense. After perusing ECU’s
    website (www.ecu.edu/undaunted
    ), you really should not laugh until you have reviewed this
    website. I began to believe that my friends who are extremely loyal to their
    over-rated ACC schools were wrong; East Carolina is not some second–rate-university,
    it’s just the opposite. It’s green and growing by leaps and bounds. With a
    classy fellow like Terry Holland heading up the athletic department, along with
    a medical school, dental school and strong other academic arenas, ECU is just
    ripe for the picking. ECU basically owns one third of North Carolina (eastern
    third) already.

    Then I started to think what impact they would have in
    recruiting, say if they were accepted into the SEC, in areas such as: all
    of North Carolina, Virginia (particularly in the highly coveted Tidewater region) and DC? It
    would truly be “a major crisis” for the ACC, to say the least. In many ways,
    ECU mirrors Virginia Tech in location, with regard to other members of the ACC,
    size (ECU is the second largest university in North Carolina) and fan base.
    They travel very well and their passion is fun and yes, very likable. They
    always play a tough schedule outside of Conference USA and they play those
    teams well. Their TV market will follow and grow exponentially.

    As I alluded to earlier, ECU is green. But when you’re green,
    you are growing, and when you are grown, you are rotten (my grandmother’s
    saying). I’m just one person with big dreams. I’m asking the million dollar
    question: Could ECU be considered a serious candidate for membership in the SEC.
    Is that asking too much? Ha! I hear you. But at least I thought I would give it
    a shot.

    Thanks for your time!

    Scott Pettit

  • fighting muskie

    MWC as a 10 member all-sports/11 for football conference—Hawaii*, SJSU, Fresno St, Nevada, UNLV, Utah St, Wyoming, Colorado St, Air Force, New Mexico, NMSU

    C-USA goes back to 12 by adding LA Tech, UTSA, North Texas, and FIU.

    Texas St joins the Sunbelt, Idaho joins the Big Sky.

    No need for this merger nonsense

  • fighting muskie

    MWC as a 10 member all-sports/11 for football conference—Hawaii*, SJSU, Fresno St, Nevada, UNLV, Utah St, Wyoming, Colorado St, Air Force, New Mexico, NMSU

    C-USA goes back to 12 by adding LA Tech, UTSA, North Texas, and FIU.

    Texas St joins the Sunbelt, Idaho joins the Big Sky.

    No need for this merger nonsense

  • Cowtown

    MWC – 12 teams (8 states)
    East = New Mexico, NM State, Air Force, CO State, Utah State and Wyoming
    West = Fresno State, San Jose State, Hawaii, Nevada, UNLV and Idaho

    CUSA – 11 teams (8 states)
    West = Troy, UAB, So Alabama, Middle TN, W Kentucky
    East = East Carolina, Marshall, Temple, UMass, FAU, FIU

    MALT – 12 teams (5 states)
    East = So Miss, Tulane, La Lafayette, La Tech, La Monroe and Arkansas State
    West = Tulsa, UTEP, North Texas, Rice, Texas State, and UTSA

    The MAC goes back to 12 by moving Temple and UMass.  If its 16 teams per conference, then MAC keeps Temple and UMass and adds ECU and Marshall.  Everything else looks like this:

    MWC – 15 teams (10 states)
    East = Tulsa, North Texas, UTEP, New Mexico, NM State, Air Force, CO State,
    West = Fresno, San Jose, Hawaii, Nevada, UNLV, Idaho, Utah State and Wyoming
     
    CUSA – 16 teams (8 states)
    East = So Miss, Troy, UAB, So Alabama, Middle TN, W Kentucky, FAU, FIU
    West = Rice, TX State, UTSA, Tulane, La Lafayette, La Tech, La Monroe and AR State

    Who or what am I missing?

  • schmolik

    Marshall and East Carolina would be sore thumbs in a MWC/CUSA merger. They should join the MAC in football and A-10 in other sports. Marshall was a MAC member for years. East Carolina would bring the MAC to the Carolinas.

  • schmolik

    Marshall and East Carolina would be sore thumbs in a MWC/CUSA merger. They should join the MAC in football and A-10 in other sports. Marshall was a MAC member for years. East Carolina would bring the MAC to the Carolinas.

  • http://twitter.com/bkarbour Brian Arbour

    It seems to me that a merged football conference is quite workable.  You play 7 games against the teams in your division, and 1 game against the team from the other division.  So each team plays the 7 games they would in a separate conference, get an inter-regional “conference” game, and maintain 4 nonconference games, which are often guarantee games for these schools.  

    There are much bigger problems with an all-sports conference, as you end up with more cross-region games and the attendant travel and cost issues.  These issues are already pretty significant for the MWC as they stand. 

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