By Brian Murphy
LAS VEGAS — Idaho and New Mexico State are the only football-playing members of the Western Athletic Conference but unlike many of their former conference mates, the Vandals and Aggies won't be invited to join the Mountain West.
"We've informed them that they will not be members of the Mountain West. Go onto Plan B whatever Plan B may be," Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson said during his annual state of the conference address at football media days.
Thompson said the teams would not move the needle on a television package.
All of the current Mountain West members and San Jose State and Utah State, which will join next year, were members of the WAC at one time. The Mountain West was formed in 1998 when eight members of the WAC broke away to create the new league.
"It's very similar to a former existence," Thompson said.
The Mountain West has 10 football-playing members this season. It will remain at that number in 2013 when Boise State and San Diego State depart for the Big East and Utah State and San Jose State join.
"A 10-team football-playing conference is the way we're going to be for well into the future," Thompson said.
The commissioner did indicate that the league might be interested in adding a Texas school or schools. He said the league visited with UT-San Antonio, which is joining Conference USA, and received material from Texas State. Conference USA member Texas-El Paso is also an intriguing candidate for the Mountain West.
"If, for whatever reason, they tire of traveling to Miami and Charlotte and Norfolk, Virginia, we would have conversations with them," Thompson said, referencing the locations of several new Conference USA members.
"I don't want to put any pressures or false hopes that we're having conversations with UTEP. We are not."
Earlier this summer, the Sun Belt ruled out further expansion. Idaho is exploring football independence in the Football Bowl Subdivision or joining the Big Sky of the Football Championship Subdivision.
The WAC will hold its football media day Thursday in Las Vegas.
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