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Last one out, turn off the WAC lights please


The Western Athletic Conference is already listing due to the departures of Boise State this year, and Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada next year, all for the Mountain West.

Now, the league is facing the possibility of yet another departure.  And a potential death knell when it comes to major college football.

According to Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, and citing sources familiar with the discussions, San Jose State has emerged as a potential expansion target of the Mountain West Conference.  The MWC’s board of directors is holding a meeting next Monday, although those talks aren’t expected to result in any invitations being extended to prospective members.  Commissioner Craig Thompson told the paper that he’s had one discussion with SJSU regarding MWC membership, but the school will not be fully evaluated until his bosses give the go ahead for further expansion.

The main reason for the MWC’s interest, however peripheral, in SJSU?  “There is value in the number of TV sets in your geographic area,” a source told Wilner, referring to the fact that San Jose sits in the nation’s sixth-largest television market.

In addition to San Jose State, Conference USA members Houston, SMU, UTEP and Utah State are believed to be potential targets as well.  The Cougars and Mustangs are reportedly content in their current conference, although we continue to hear the former would be open to overtures from the MWC.

Despite the departures of BYU (football independence), TCU (Big East) and Utah (Pac-12), the additions of Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada will give the MWC ten schools starting in 2012.  The interest in San Jose State, as well as other schools, would seem to indicate the MWC is seeking to get to at least 12 schools in order to have the flexibility to split into divisions and hold a conference title game at the end of the regular season.

As for the WAC, the loss of San Jose State would certainly be a crippling, if not outright fatal, blow football-wise.  As it currently stands, and if they were to lose SJSU, the WAC would be down to Idaho, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, Utah State (if they’re not poached as well), Texas State and the University of Texas at San Antonio.  The latter two schools were officially added to the WAC’s “roster” last November, although neither institution has played a game at the Div. 1-A level.

The WAC reached out to both Montana and North Texas regarding a potential move to the conference, although both schools rebuffed the advances.  Again, the WAC was spurned by Montana and North Texas.

In other words, and in the not-too-distant future, the Old Yeller treatment may be in order for the WAC.  It’s the only humane thing left to do.

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9 Responses to “Last one out, turn off the WAC lights please”
  1. kenbercheval says: Jan 19, 2011 10:41 AM

    Great analysis JT.

    Especially “the Old Yeller treatment” – a classic Taylorism.

  2. burntorangehorn says: Jan 19, 2011 11:07 AM

    La Tech had better find a way into the CUSA or Big East, or they’re going to be stuck begging the Sun Belt for membership like the rest of the soon-to-be-dissolved WAC.

    Really, the WAC and Sun Belt should just merge right now, although travel costs for some of the teams look kind of prohibitive.

  3. edgy says: Jan 19, 2011 11:07 AM

    There’s always Idaho State. :)

    San Jose State wold give the MWC a team in Northern California so they should have Utah State to have a mini-Pac-12 look. :)

  4. bobulated says: Jan 19, 2011 12:37 PM

    SJSU like everyone else sees the expiration date for the WAC and need an exit strategy. They should run not walk to the MWC with acceptance in hand if they are actually offered.

  5. vivatveritas says: Jan 19, 2011 1:43 PM

    burntorangehorn, you’ve got to be kidding! la tech to cusa or big east? cusa has already made it clear they are not interested and quite honestly the sunbelt doesn’t want them either (much less the big east). They have poor facilities, a very rural market, and poor attendance. once the wac money goes away their budget will be less than most of the sunbelt schools’ budgets. quite honestly i would be suprised to see the southland conference take them!

    as for a merger, the wac has approached at least three sunbelt teams about joining the conference and all a.d.s punched in the do not accept phone numbers from herr benson.

  6. mrcowpatty says: Jan 19, 2011 2:02 PM

    The two Divisions could be called, are you ready, the WAC and the MWC.

  7. edgy says: Jan 19, 2011 3:21 PM

    vivatveritas says: Jan

    are not interested and quite honestly the sunbelt doesn’t want them either (much less the big east).


    Seriously, as opposed to Western Kentucky? You do realize that they were conference members (Big West) with Arkansas State, North Texas and what is now Louisiana-Lafayette, as well as Louisiana-Monroe when they (ASU, NT and LL) were all part of the Southland Conference? The WAC that took in Louisiana Tech was in a better position than the Sun Belt and they could have easily rejected them and went with another team so it’s not like Louisiana Tech is that putrid of a choice but I would agree that the Big East wouldn’t want them but I believe CUSA would take them if they lose a team.

  8. lbijake says: Jan 19, 2011 5:18 PM

    Not so sure about the Old Yeller reference. Remember, people actually cared about what happened to Yeller, the WAC, not so much.

  9. burntorangehorn says: Jan 19, 2011 8:39 PM

    vivaveritas–I’m pretty sure the Sun Belt or CUSA would look very strongly at La Tech if the conference were to (a) choose to expand, or (b) lose teams to the Big East or another expanding conference.

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