I mentioned a second option that I want to source before I discuss it. This link is from the forum you listed.http://www.fresnobee.com/local/story/1184179.html
A guy by the username of lemoore77 suggests simply cutting the WAC back to a football only conference. This is frankly a pretty decent idea, at least as a starting point. Other regional conferences would likely absorb WAC members. He suggests that WAC could make a standing offer to house members of those co-operating conference if any chose to move up to FBS football. To me, this is a sort of "best of both worlds" scenario --- the WAC survives, all members' travel budgets are dramatically cut, Schools have the ability to renew old rivalries, and they still retain their ability to play in BCS bowls --- but the commisioner and some schools might fight it over a "loss of esteem" and a loss of control over conference membership.
A third option would be to get outliers to become football only members of the WAC. I know that a lot of respondents have a tendency to attack ideas like this as unworkable, but it just takes a little out of the box thinking.
You have 3 outliers that kill travel budgets in the conference. Assume that you will never in a million years get Hawaii out of the conference because you are the closest schools they could play. NMSU and LA Tech are schools you want to make into football only members. That doesn't hurt you marketwise, retains your conference powers, and leaves you with the 7 needed to satisfy the 7/6/5 rule to retain your basketball bid and a very fan friendly footprint.
Now how do you get those two schools to agree to do this? You have to show them the numbers. The status quo has been bleeding them of their competitiveness for years. LA tech has a 10M budget and the state is having major financial issues. NMSU has a 19M budget, but huge travel. If the agreement guarantees neither school will be voted or pushed out of the football conference for the next 20 years and both schools can opt to rejoin the conference as full members in 10 years --- what do they have to lose?
There is no reason for a good basketball conference like the MVC to admit them --- they just add to travel. The southland is a crap basketball conference and only wants teams for football anyway. The Sunbelt has bad blood with LA Tech and would not want to travel to NMSU.
IMO there are two conferences which would consider it and offer shorter or similar travel for the two schools--- the Summit and...get ready for it...the Great West. IMO, the Summit would likely pass. They would NEVER be able to retain LA Tech or NMSU long term, so there is too little gained unless the WAC makes it worth their while via scheduling favors, higher profile tournaments, ect.
The Great West, however, has the world to gain. Consider the following scenario. The WAC agrees to a limited scheduling deal with the western GW teams and agrees to allow all of the GW teams (and LA Tech and NMSU) into a "Great West Division" of the WAC for basketball. End result, the GW teams all suddenly have a legit path to the NCAA tourney if they do well--- upgrading the status of the conference. S. Utah probably would bolt for the "Great WAC". The WAC connection would make it interesting enough for Denver. The WAC would probably want them in to help TV and speed the growth of the GW. The best teams from both divisions would play in the WAC tourney. The WAC schools would usually prevail and make the NCAA Tourney, but the GW schools could legitimately get in with a great regular season and a reasonable WAC tourney run.
Financially, things can be worked out where the WAC retains most of the money. The GW would make their money on tourney bids and greater stature in their TV exposure.
NMSU and LA Tech would probably dominate the GW, resurrecting those basketball programs which have been eroded by years of expensive travel. The WAC schools might actually agree to each surrender a small slice of their increased TV revenue to funnel to NMSU and La Tech to cover their still pronounced travel costs. If the net result is that the western WAC schools each save say 500K in travel costs a year not going to each of those schools in non-revenue sports and pull up to $1M more per school via greater TV revenue, they could sent $250K each to NMSU and LA Tech (---regardless of which conference the WAC partners). In the GW, NMSU and LA Tech would give the GW two more Core schools (to go with Chicago State and UTPA), speeding up their ability to break away from the WAC and claim their own NCAA autobid.
Great WAC basketball
Portland State (BB only)
NAU (BB only)
That is a huge 11/11 balance. In theory after 5 years (2015), the GW could snag NAU and breakaway. NAU, Chicago St., UTPA, LA Tech, NMSU, SUU, & Denver would satisfy the 7/6/5 rule, giving the GW an autobid in BB. (The GW would make it worth NAU's time for a few more years.) In a couple of years NAU could return to the BSC for Basketball as UVU amd NJ tech become core members of the NCAA.
The WAC would be a 10 team BB conference (+PSU, UCD, and Sac St.) and a 10 team FB conference (current lot + Sac St.).
Convoluted, I know...I am pretty sleepy....but it could make financial sense for all involved.