By Brian Murphy
LAS VEGAS — Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said his league has not had any discussions about expansion in recent months.
Thompson said the league's athletics directors met in May and its board of directors met in June.
"In neither of those meetings was the word expansion mentioned. I think that's the answer," Thompson said Wednesday morning at the Mountain West media days in Las Vegas.
There have been persistent rumblings about Utah State possibly joining the league, including an an Internet report that surfaced Tuesday night.
The Mountain West has eight teams for the 2011-12 calendar: Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, TCU, UNLV and Wyoming. The league lost Utah and BYU in the off-season.
On July 1, 2012, the membership will change again with TCU leaving for the Big East. Fresno State and Nevada will join the league for all sports and Hawaii will join in football.
Thompson said his league is keeping an eye on the Big 12, which nearly fractured last year and could break apart due to disagreements over The Longhorn Network, a new television partnership between Texas and ESPN.
"There's a reason we haven’t talked expansion. ... I think we've been very selective," Thompson said. "We could have changed our membership many times through the years. We've had two membership changes in 13 years. We're selective."
Thompson said personally he does not like divisional play, which would be required if the league expanded to 12 teams. He also said he would have preferred to play nine conference games in football beginning next year, but said there were good reasons to play eight.
• Thompson discussed a variety of issues with the media Wednesday, including the status of the league's television contract, its place in college football moving forward and his belief in the need for tougher sanctions against cheaters in college athletics.
We'll have much more from Thompson's talk in Thursday's editions of the Idaho Statesman.
Right now we're off to talk to players, including Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore and safety George Iloka.
I posted highlights of his conversation in real time at Murph's Turf on Twitter.
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