The WAC failed to keep the intermountain schools in the fold, and has failed to retain any southwestern schools. Loosing UTEP to CUSA is a dagger in the back for this league who can hardly find enough members to field a Western based Division 1-A conference.
I guess being rejected by North Texas says a lot about this WAC's "High Major" status in basketball. The second best men's basketball conference out west is the Moutain West with the UNLV and Utah programs. The Moutain West actually has better attendance than the PAC-10.
In the old basketball order, pre 2005 the high major conferences were Big East, Big10, CUSA, ACC, SEC, BigXII, MWC, PAC-10. Outside of these 8 conferences only 1 school has made a final four appearance and that was UMass in 1996 in the prior 25 seasons.In the new basketball order, the High Major Conferences are going to be Big East, Big10, ACC, SEC, BigXII, MWC, and the PAC-10. Nobody in the new CUSA has made it to the final four since Memphis in 1985.
I don't think that the Mountain West belongs among the either the High Major-Past or High Major-Future conferences, for one reason: Television exposure. Once the MWC went with College Sports Television, they essentially open themselves up to a possible raid by the Pac-10 (BYU and Utah) and/or the Big 12(Colorado State).
Those leagues have guaranteed exposure through established national outlets like FSN, ESPN, CBS, ABC, et al. CSTV IS growing at a faster rate than any other network out there, but ESPN, just as an example, will still be larger than CSTV ever will.
Infact, I read an article done by ESPN's Andy Katz a few weeks ago that says CSTV is NOT available in most of the MWC's home base (including the Dallas-Fort Worth area) save for DirecTV.
I'm not sure if ESPNU will be available
on DirecTV when it launches, but if it is, where will advertisers want to go to? ESPNU of course.
If Craig Thompson were smart, he should scrap the CSTV deal and sign one with FSN.
When has any of the future WAC membership even made it to the elite 8? None that I can recall within the last 25 years. Gonzaga of the WCC has done it recently, Xavier of the A-10, and KentState of the MAC. The WAC is just a strong mid major conference like the MVC, A-10, CUSA, or MAC. To be sure a few programs like Fresno or Hawaii are High Major look alikes, but their conference is as a whole mid major.
I disagree on this completely. The NEW WAC as a whole will be a lot more basketball-oriented. As such, it will be a very good High Mid-Major league, not a Mid-Major.