Mountain West commish says league is talking with Big 12, Big East members, considering football merger with Conference USA

By Brian Murphy

Conference USA reaction

A statement from C-USA commissioner Britton Banowsky: "We find the activities involving conference realignment fascinating. We are closely watching the recent developments in other conferences, and the potential for change. At the same time, we are working on some creative consolidation strategies that have the potential for positioning our members well into the future. We are particularly intrigued by cooperative possibilities with the Mountain West."

Boise State reaction

Boise State Interim Athletic Director Curt Apsey told the Statesman on Monday afternoon that no conference has contacted Boise State about joining and that the Broncos have not applied to any league.

"You focus on what you can control, which is us. And if you do that, I think you become more attractive," Apsey said.

Apsey said it is important for the Mountain West to be exploring ways to improve.

"It's all about being proactive. I don't think you sit back and wait from a conference standpoint," Apsey said. "It's important, if you can, to put your conference in the best light as it pertains to your ability to make money for the conference."

Original post

The Mountain West and Conference USA are again considering a football-only merger in response to conference realignment across the country, Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson told the Idaho Statesman on Monday.

“We’ve resurrected … this consolidation concept with Conference USA from a football-only standpoint. The timing is right to be proactive in that,” Thompson said. “Consolidation is, at least, worth exploring.”

More on the possible merger below.

Thompson has also reached out to members of the Big 12 and Big East about joining his 10-team league, if realignment leaves those schools without a home.

Thompson said the No. 1 option for those schools — the so-called leftovers if Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech bolt for the Pac-16 and the ACC continues to take teams from the Big East – is to join together under the Big East or Big 12 banner.

“What I’m hearing from most parties is the Big 12 and Big East institutions that might not get invited (to other BCS leagues), their No. 1 option is they are interested in getting together. That is the highest option on those institutions’ part.”

Thompson said he has had extensive conversations with current Mountain West member TCU, which is slated to leave for the Big East next year.

“I have had a lot of conversations with TCU through this process. Specifically inviting them back to the league is not my position,” Thompson said, noting that only the league’s board of directors can issue invitations. “But it is being strongly considered and would probably — probably emphasized — be endorsed by the Mountain West Board of Directors.”

He said he has not talked with former member BYU, who left the conference this year for football independence and the West Coast Conference.

As for a Mountain West-Conference USA merger, Thompson said it would be a football-only “federation” that would help the leagues with television contracts, marketing and stability and corporate sponsorships. The “league” would stretch from the East Coast to Hawaii.

“It’s one of several options that should be discussed in this day and age,” he said.

Thompson said it would be best if the leagues were symmetrical, meaning each had 12 members as C-USA does right now. The Mountain West will have 10 next year when TCU leaves and Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii join.

He described the model as one like the AFL-NFL model, where the league champions meet for a title.

“Two business-as-usual, quasi-separate leagues getting together,” he said.

Thompson said athletic directors from both leagues are discussing the idea, which is in the “conceptual” stage.

He said there is no definitive time table, but the league is “dealing with several options simultaneously,” including talking with the Big East and Big 12 schools while also considering a merger with Conference USA.

“All you can do is talk to institutions and find out what their intentions are,” Thompson said.

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1316481931 Mountain West commish says league is talking with Big 12, Big East members, considering football merger with Conference USA Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

big 12

meger with mountain west under big 12 tv contract and bcs slot should be the focus; mountain west's 10 plus TCU, Kansas, K st, Baylor, Mizzoo, Iowa st. Rename : BIG 16

That'd be great for Boise State

But everyone seems to be forgetting that very few people outside the Broncos faithful give a rat's rear end about Boise State. Boise State has been a consistently top-25 ranked team for 8 years, and in that time there have been enough teams added to BCS conferences to make an entire new conference. Not once has Boise State been seriously mentioned.

There's nothing in the MWC that any of the big money players want. Boise State's best play is to keep embarrassing the system and exposing it as a corrupt fraud from the outside.

If you can't join em... beat em!

I hear ya

but the MWC is the 5th highest rated conference(football), above the big east, bcs power ratingwise. If the BCS wants to continue functioning it needs to imeadiatly grant AQ status to the MWC to keep their required affliation when one or both the big 12/east implodes. And as far as Kansas & co goes? its a matter of survival. By the time they join up with whats left of the B E it would be just the former CUSA refugees anyway and a basketball multimega nightmare. MWC aint all that shabby with New Mex and San Diego St. in round ball.


I'm telling you all right now, and I know this sounds vain, But the best move for the Big 12 right now, not in two days but NOW is to invite Boise State & TCU. Stopp the laughing and listen up now. The commish is way too slow and like everyone else is depending on Texas & Oklahoma to save them. Bad move. They should have restocked after Nebraska & Col left and because of that they are in limbo now. If you dont stock up when one leaves the trickle becomes a flood. And if OKY & Tex goes who is left to stock it back up? If Tex & Oky stay, its still the big 11 or 12. Then add one to replace A&M when they go. If they dont do that then the Commsih wont have a job long and the 5 little sisters will be out on the streets. After the 1st two left they could have raided the Big East or maybe the ACC but now with the Big 12 in limbo the Big east leftovers are not sure which way to go. But BSU would jump at the chance and now that the B E is on the ropes too, TCU would follow. The momentum would be enough to snag say West Virginia, or Louiville, Airforce etc... if not and TEX & OKY leaves it will not be pretty. And if they stay its still 12 just add Louiville.
Aw shucks guys.
But if big 12 collapes it aint my fault, I told ya so. It just a big chess match now. Its about money but you have to have a conference to get it.


Interesting piece you wrote.

Stranger things have happened.

You may be right.

I don't understand te need to act NOW, though.


I bett ya

Beebe now understands the need to act NOW! Some "WIZE" fella (boy I hate to quote him) once said "It aint over yet". If A&M leaves as planned the SEC will at some point add a 14th team. Right now the choice is Missouri, and if Mizzou goes the big 12 is still crumbling. You just dont replace A&M & MIZZOU with TCU & BYU and everything is ok. All the other big 12 teams keep seeing their conference getting more and more insignificant (SEC, Big 10, ACC getting stronger)while Texas is getting richer and when the conference no longer matters, Texas will go independent leaving all the others to writhe in the dust. They still think they are the big 12 (at least Tex, T Tech, Oky & Oky st do). But replacing A&M with a ho hum school does not change that perception. Last year TCU mattered, this year not so much. We are now in "this year". BSU is once again in the National championship contention discussion. Oky & Tex although they want to believe it do not make a conference by themselves. If you want to change the perception then make a choice that will generate some BUZZ. The headlines read "Deal may keep big 12 together". Whew! The headlines should read "Big 12 add #4 Boise State,#16 West Virginia and when A&M leaves #20 TCU" to bring it back to 12. Then if Mizzou leaves bring in BYU. Don't maintain, Upgrade!
That's all I have to say!

I've got a better name!

How about the Big Mess?

Are you kidding?

Conference USA? For real? Isn't that a notch beneath the WAC? Therefore 2 notches under the MWC? I'd say forget it.

Your thinking of the Sun

You're thinking of the Sun Belt. C-USA is probably the next most competitive Non-AQ after the MW.

By all means, bury most of the MWC teams even deeper.

We don't need more knee-jerk reactions to the potential Pac-16.


Economists were invented to make astrologers look professional.


is probably better off with the leftovers of the Big East and Big 12. They'll probably still get left out of the next football shift, but at least they'd be well situated relative to the other leftover FBS conferences in the long run. Regionally they'd likely be better off in the midwest division of that conference, too.

I'm not much of a fan of how the Pac 16 alignment seems to be shaking out (pods).

Continental Divide

Conference; East and West Divisions (for the Conference USA merger)

BSU Must try to Join Big East/Big 12 Hybrid

The simple facts are the bottom of the MTN West is an anchor with Wyoming, UNLV, New Mexico (football wise) and soon to be UNR (awful athletic budget and Ault simply can't coach forever) when it comes to the BCS.

Boise has to cash in on being a football power and join a modified Big East/Big 12 that hopefully could keep a BCS bid. Something along these lines but acknowledging WVA, USF, and Rutgers could all leave for the ACC. This would give you 16 teams with (2) 8 team divisions and a COnference title game. Does everyone think a league with WVA, Boise, BYU, TCU, and an upcoming USF be enough for an automatic BCS birth?

West Virginia
South Florida
Iowa State
Rutgers or UCF is Rutgers joins ACC or Big 10

Kansas State
Boise State
Air Force

None of this has to do with FOOTBALL!


Economists were invented to make astrologers look professional.

It doesn't have to be "enough"

The Big East has an automatic bid no matter how good or bad they are, case in point the last few years. They've mentioned playing that card in any negotiations for schools.

That said, they have expressed no interest whatsoever in Boise State.

What if the Big-12 wins? They hold the same playing cards.....

I had been assuming the Big 12 would eventually win out on a Big 12/Big East merger simply because their conference champion is tied in with an actual BCS bowl (Fiesta) as opposed to the Big East Champ who eventually goes to the bowl with the last pick. I guess it ultimately wouldn't matter either way.

I think conferences that haven't seriously considered Boise State in the past might have to reconsider as legitimate football programs are going to be hard to find.


You out there?




check you fb mess. and get back to asap plz...

I'm in

Looking forward to it.


FYI 5 man...
C U there


Boise State not being included in the conference expansions has nothing to do with the quality of football. It has everything to do with (1) the institution not being of an academic caliber to be invited to the major conferences and (2) BSU being in a very minor televison market.

High note you are 1/2 right

conference affiliation has NOTHING to do with academics now. 20 years ago yup, maybe even 5 years ago. But not now. Only money and market. period.

And to go on that

This is all about one sport, football I thought.

Do not plan on the BCS

remaining the same. There will be a whole evaluation method, expect conferences with 16 teams to get 2 automatic bids, and non-AQ to be adjusted.


and IMO..Cotton added as a BCS Bowl..

BigEast/Big12 Hybrid

I love this alignment. It would be terrific. But the odds of it happening are terrible.

Assuming Texas, TTech, OK and OkSt leave...

a WMC/Big12 merger would be nice. Take the 2012 MWC (minus Wyoming and New Mexico) and merge with the remaining 5 teams from the Big 12. Add Houston and Utah State (if nothing more than for Basketball). The result is 13 quality teams:

2 from Texas (Baylor, Houston) <-- in-state rival
2 from Nevada (Reno, UNLV) <-- in-state rival
2 from Colorado (Air Force, ColoSt) <-- in-state rival
1 from Idaho (BSU)
1 from Utah (UtahSt)
2 from Calif (FresnoSt, SanDiegoSt) <-- in-state rival
2 from Kansas (Kansas, KansasSt) <-- in-state rival
1 from Iowa (IowaSt)

Wyoming and New Mexico go to the WAC.

USU for UNM?

New Mexico football is horrible, but I'd still take the Lobos over the Aggies in a heartbeat. The basketball is much better, and the Albuquerque market is far more lucrative than Logan (about a million in Albuquerque's metro). Football has been competitive in the past, they just need to pull their heads out and build it up again.

I 1/2 agree

UNM is a solid basketball school and their football team USED to be good. I'd take them in a heartbeat over Iowa State. Heck, I'll take Wyoming over Iowa State. What $$$/media market/tv sets does Ames, IA bring that Casper, WY doesn't. Pick your poison. At least Casper is drivable from Boise.

Honestly and I have zero facts for this

but I "got a feeling' BSU will be better off when this all plays out. Will it be fair NO WAY but will it be better than the status quo.... maybe. It has something to do with the BCS and the cotton bowl, but also just the notion that some scraps will be thrown our way BSU and schools like them will not get the Big boy treatment but I think there will be a place at the table. And it goes like this... "win and you are in"


could be less competition for the Non AQ may be right.

I've always maintained Bley had a "method to his madness" re scheduling. Throw a BCS school on, beat them, win out and Dance..


It is known as 'The Formula'.



Yeah! The PAC-12 will go to PAC-16 with UofO, OSU, Texas and ? It won't be TCU...they're gone to conference USA. The other possibility is to fill that 4th spot with BYU or BSU. Both have drawbacks but they are possibilities. BYU being a religous institution is not desirable to some of the cal schools and the fact they won't play on Sunday's is a big negative. BSU is a possibility but it's not a research institution and that's a problem. They'd also have to get a lot better at football to come up to the standard of play of the remaining 15 schools.

It's Texas Tech

according to reports.....

Texas Tech

is 4th school, if U of Texas doesnt go the think BSU

I disagree with some of your assumptions

"Yeah! The PAC-12 will go to PAC-16 with UofO, OSU, Texas and ? It won't be TCU...they're gone to conference USA."

Why would they go DOWN to the C-USA when they are moving UP to the Big East? If they don't go to the BE, then they'll prob return to MWC.

"BSU ... also have to get a lot better at football to come up to the standard of play of the remaining 15 schools."

Better at football? Boise State can already compete in football with the Pac-10. There isn't a Pac-12 team that Boise State can't make a decent showing against, if not beat.

Ha! Ha! Ha!

Boise State is good for a good game against a quality school every now and then but week to week I think they'd get the stuffing knocked out of them. They couldn't take the constant pounding if the had to play a PAC school every week. Comm'n, I mean look at their non league schedule this year. Ok...I'll give you Georgia is a quality program but Toledo? Tulsa? Get Real!!! Try a schedule where they play Stanford, Oregon, USC, UCLA, Washington, Arizona...etc. They couldn't handle all that.

You are out of your d**n mind

You really can't say s**t about Tulsa. Their two losses this season were to #1 Oklahoma and #8 Oklahoma State. Wait until later in the season before you start criticizing them.

Toledo was a quality opponent when Ohio State scheduled them, because Ohio State doesn't schedule "Little Sisters of the Poor". But, one week later they suddenly lose their quality status? Whatever, Homer!

And, don't give me that tough schedule BS, especially in regard to the Pac-12. There are only 2 decent teams, and even then Stanford only plays 1 good team (Oregon).

Yes, Boise State could handle that. Only Oregon could beat BSU this season. Andrew Luck would get buried by the Bronco D-line.

The Pac-12 is a joke.


"Only Oregon could beat BSU this season"
Did you not see LSU handle them up front?

Do you really believe that? said it...Why do you think that?


I think Oregon is the best team in the Pac-12. Do I think Oregon "could" beat BSU? Yes. But, will they? I don't know. They "could" have beaten us on the Blue. They "could" have beaten us in Eugene. They just didn't. I'm just saying I think they have the best chance.

I am sure glad you cleared

I am sure glad you cleared that up GigPackage....for a minute I got the idea that you knew what you were talking about. When the time rolls around where you of infinite wisdom and knowledge can predict within even 50% accuracy what would happen if BSU played all those teams and not beat all of them or most of them, my suggestion for you is get a job as a psychic. I know you only open your mouth to change feet but the taste of your own feet must be quite atrocious by now.


When Moore is gone and Peterson realizes he is still in the minor leagues he will be gone as well. 30K stadium and no market gets you very little these days. On top of that, you have a men's basketball program that has NEVER won an NCAA tourney game. Who wants BSU? Noboby in the big leagues. Small time!

Most schools are successful in only one or two sports

Few schools (UCLA, for one) have had success in BOTH (Men's) Basketball and Football. Boise State is no different. But that's not a bad thing. Duke and Utah State suck in football, but are among the best schools in the country in Basketball. Why should Boise State be required to excel in both? Doesn't the Football program bring in enough money for both programs?

So, frankly, I don't care if our Basketball team isn't very successful. What's your point?

Oregon did have a golden age in all sports....

No one at one time could out-do Oregon in running....they were the best....Pre, Bowerman, Dellinger, and Knight with a powerful running team and the soon to be Nike franchise....

In the same time was Fouts and Moore....but also in track was Mac Wilkins....

and the red-head in b-ball was at that time too....

As Archie Bunker sang, 'Those were the days'.....

They were....

I believe Oregon won the first NCAA BB national title, no?


Economists were invented to make astrologers look professional.


What's left of the Big Least will be gobbled up by the SEC/ACC/Big 10. Even the Big 12 may lose Mizz and the Kansas teams to the SEC/Big 10.

It's not about CHOICES. It is a LACK OF OPTIONS.

The Big 12 will be scrabbling for survival and beggers can not be choosers. Put it like this, if you (and your pals) were invited to the Playboy Mansion (BCS), but you had to have a date (non-negotiable) and everyone else had a date, you and your friends are going to ask the last girls left.

In this case, the MWC teams (possibly TCU) are the type of girls with OKAY faces, but with huge racks or vice versa. They may not be the best choices available, but they WILL get you into the party.

Boise is a girl with a great face, but a mild A-B cup, but is getting a boob job. The stadium and facilities are going through the improvement stages as we speak. The stadium will hold 50k+ within 5 years. It's no Big House in Michigan, but it's sure as heck not the Kibbie dome either!

oh, yeah.......the bball team is getting better.


Well we won the Fiesta Bowl before Moore ever got here. We'll take that!

Vote Vote Vote

Vote once a day everyday

Finally, logic and reason return.


Economists were invented to make astrologers look professional.