By Brian Murphy
Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson made the media rounds Monday, discussing his conference’s place in the ongoing realignment circus.
Thompson told the Idaho Statesman that he had spoken with teams from the Big East and the Big 12 about possibly joining his league. He said he has reached out to TCU about remaining in the league. And Thompson said the Mountain West is engaged in conversations with Conference USA about a possible football-only “federation.”
Thompson spoke with other media and expanded on those topics:
• In a conversation with The (Fort Collins) Coloradoan, Thompson mentioned that he has spoken with members of the Big East and Big 12.
“I have spoken, literally, to every institution in the Big 12 that has the possibility of being displaced," Thompson said. "I've spoken to a number of Big East institutions. I've had a lot of conversations with TCU; TCU hasn't left yet. They've announced they're leaving (the MW for the Big East), but who knows where all this ends up?”
Colorado State president Tony Frank told the newspaper that it is possible the Mountain West could lose members during the realignment shuffle.
• In an interview with ESPN, Thompson mentioned the possibility that Boise State could be invited into a league of displaced Big East and Big 12 members.
“But that's where the Mountain West comes back into play," Thompson said. "What are the numbers? Will they need to get to 12 or 14? Are they trying to get Air Force or Boise State? It would be a long way from Boise, Idaho or for Air Force's Olympic sports (to travel to Big East schools). We don't know what a reconfigured Big 12 would look like.”
That league could look something like this: Cincinnati, Louisville, South Florida, West Virginia, TCU, Iowa State, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State
That league could be looking for additional members, particularly ones with football clout, like Boise State.
Boise State Interim Athletic Director Curt Apsey told the Idaho Statesman he has not been contacted by another conference nor have the Broncos applied to another league. Boise State President Bob Kustra told the Idaho Statesman last week he has not been contacted by another league.
Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle wrote:: "If Oklahoma and Texas do join the Pac 12, the Big 12 and Big East will create some kind of merger. Houston, Boise, BYU, Air Force and one or two others will be invited to join in the conference."
• CBS Sports.com is reporting that West Virginia has been denied membership by the ACC and the SEC. The Kansas City Star is reporting that Missouri has an offer to join the SEC, which has already accepted Texas A&M conditionally.
• In an interview with the Tulsa World, Thompson said he was surprised by the movement so soon after last year’s changes.
"There was movement last summer with BYU, Utah, Nebraska, Colorado, Boise State coming to our league," said Thompson, MWC commissioner since 1999. "People signed new 15-year media rights contracts, and I thought it had settled in. Apparently I was wrong.”
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