If NMSU gets an invite by the SBC at any given time, the WAC would be force to fold operations as a conference if its commissioner couldn't find the right replacement school that must benefit for the rest of its members. For now, NMSU is being the most consistent school the WAC has on its membership for Oly sports (aside from football, which the conference dropped a few years ago after like 50 years of legacy in that sport). It's no secret that the conference has no core center, nor any good markets, but just a bunch of newcomers. Half of its members are in the West, with the others being in the South (UT-RGV) & the Midwest (UMKC & Chicago St.), making them look like outliners.
One alternative for the WAC to replace NMSU is to add like 2-3 schools that fit the core center of the conference's footprint, that benefits in TV, media and city markets respectively too. Some D-II schools like UC-Colorado Springs or Metro St. [Denver] should be stepping up to D-I, as well as Cal St.-LA [LA] or San Fransisco St. [Bay Area] or UCSD [San Diego]. When that happens, then they would need to find some quality schools for the South and the Midwest as well or in the Upper North (states like ND or SD or MT).
In case there aren't any schools to step up to join D-I, then those current schools will have to find better conference homes regional-wise. Like Seattle could return to the WCC, Cal St.-Bakersfield could the Big West (with most of its former D-II CCAA rivals), Chicago St. and UMKC would either returning to the SL or joining the HL, Grand Canyon and Utah Valley might be D-I Independents or join the Big West, UT-RGV might join the Southland.
OK, I'm trying to rethink this a little....maybe with NMSU staying.
If the SBC rebuffs NMSU and heads a totally new direction by uniting the older SBC schools in the west division...and showing Idaho, NMSU, UTA and LRu the door in two years.
With LRu and UTA heading to the WAC.
With these two schools....the WAC has much more pull than it would have before. They would be able to start their division split(to lessen travel for each division) and start focusing on potential schools to recruit. Trying to get to 14 would be a possibility with the added DI programs. Maybe even Idaho rethinks leaving...with the prospect of downgrading to FCS?? A strong WAC has a much better chance of snagging new members.
On the list:
New Orleans, aTm CC in the east.
Idaho, Metro St(DII), or UCCS(DII) for the west
Which would total up something along these lines:
WAC east: Chi St, UMKC, LRu, UTA, RGV, CC, New Orleans
WAC west: Seattle, Idaho, Bakersfield, UVU, GCU, NMSU, Metro State
(BB would play a h/h with their 6 div rivals...then would play h/h with only three of the other division to further reduce travel)
So, depending on what the SBC does...the WAC could have a fighting chance. Question is...whether or not the WAC has enough in the tank to try and pull a couple of strong moves off?
If NMSU has prepared for both outcomes....things could work smoothly. If they haven't talked with UTA and LRu...then, who knows??