Hawaii preferred the Big West because:
A: Competitiveness - Other than Hawaii football and women's volleyball Hawaii's other sports were pretty non-competitive in the WAC and would had been beaten up even more so in the MWC.
B: Cost - Hawaii was going to have to pay a travel subsidy for just about any conference it joined. The Big West is mostly out of LAX while the MWC would have been from Boise, Salt Lake City, Denver, Colorado Springs, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, and Reno.
So if it costs more and gets them little benefit why do it? If the MWC made them join in order to keep their football in it they totally would, but neither seem to want that. Hawaii would hurt their RPI and Hawaii sports would get clobbered in the MWC.
Hawaii didn't play as an independent because, like all remaining independents, they would have trouble filling their schedule each year once conference play begins. That's why ND agreed to 5 games a year against the ACC, because with more conference going to 9 game schedules, it getting harder for them to find opponents later in the season, and that's with a ton of "rivalry" games. Factor in the extra travel costs and lack of premier rivals and its obvious that Hawaii would have had a hard time as an independent.
If only the Big West would return football, all other schools in that conference would re-instate and/or add in their programs, and Hawaii would be a great contender as a football team, putting the Big West back on the map in that sport.
And why putting Notre Dame in this, who in my opinion should had joined the ACC for football, along with its other sports as a pure full member instead of still having football Independent status. Unfortunately, the deal the Irish made for 5 games against conference members as an Independent wasn't the one that they had back when they were a member of the old Big East. Then ND would had face the likes Miami, Viriginia Tech, Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers, West Virginia, Boston College, Louisville, UConn, Cincinnati and South Florida at least once with their 18-season span.
Fresno St. Alum wrote:
BYU doesn't play football in another conf. Like I said if BYU wanted back in for all sports MWC would take them and UTEP. If for some reason MWC felt it had to have a 12th bball playing school w/o adding another fb school it would be BYU not Gonzaga or St.Mary's or Denver. They won't feel that need, they have lots of bball talent w/o BYU. BYU's plan was to keep all sports but fb in the MWC. MWC said no, so yes they would want that but got rejected.
Bish they'd have the votes, they'd make a lot of money for the conf. w/ the tv games, yes everyone hates them and still would but profit is profit plus it would add strength in football/bball.
To answer the "BYU wanted back in for all sports except football" part: Look what I said earlier:
But like in C-USA, the MW doesn't allow member schools with full membership status (and sponsoring football in a different conference or as an Independent).
In the future, and if possible, if BYU should return to the MW, they should be in full membership status (with football) in exchange for Hawaii. Not taking out from the Rainbow Warriors, who are an outstanding football team (like the time they won the 2007 WAC title, earning a BCS bid as an undefeated in that season) despite the slumps they recently have, but Hawaii should be a football member of the Big West, which that conference should be planning to re-instate that sport if the other current members like Long Beach State or Pacific (now in the WCC, but possibly an affiliate) or Cal State-Fullerton or Cal State-Northridge or UC-Irvine or UC-Riverside plan to add football back; also re-adding UC-Davis and Cal Poly from the Big Sky affiliate status; and all of those schools should upgrade to at least 30,000 seats as the FBS requirements indicate. It's like renewing themselves again.