The only way this conference survives is if they get the ability to invite D2 upgrades. But, as stated earlier, with 4 schools standing from Utah to New Jersey and from the Texas Panhandle to Chicago, can you really build from that? Plus the NCAA just worked out a new TV contract, are they really going to allow the Great West to screw up their delicate alignment of the "First Four?" I just don't see this happening nor do I really think it should.
If C-USA and the Moutain West merge or form a league then there is room to add the Great West as an all-sports conference and has zero affect on the number of auto-bids...
True, but a merged C-USA/MW might also invite some more schools including current WAC members. Maybe the WAC could absorb the Great West or just the teams they would want (Utah Valley, UTPA if the WAC stays in Texas, potential Great West target CSUB).
I don't think any of this will affect the NCAA Tournament or First Four. From what I know, NCAA tournaments need to have at least half of the available spots reserved for at-large berths. This would give the basketball tournament 31 automatic bids and 37 at-large bids, and technically mean that the NCAA could allow 3 more conferences to be created if they wanted to.