If a report released earlier this week from Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News holds up, Conference USA and the Mountain West will announce a merger — not just a football-only association — some time within the next month.
If/when that happens, just how big the new conference will be remains uncertain. It’s believed, although far from confirmed, that the new C-USA/MWC merger would look into Florida and Texas to expand.
Sun Belt, you’re under the microscope.
But one team you can cross off the list — for now — to join that merger is FAU. School president Mary Jane Saunders told Owl Access on Friday that FAU has “not been invited to another conference… I think those decisions have already been made. I think it’s finished now. …We’re staying in the Sun Belt.”
FAU AD Craig Angelos, who was fired last week, also told the site there were no conversations between the two conferences and FAU.
But the Sun Belt could still stand to be raided, along with the WAC (again) and perhaps a team from the 1-AA ranks — or a combination of the three. FIU, Middle Tennessee and North Texas have all been connected to the merger before, and as Wilner explains in his blog, the merger could have greater ramifications than any realignment or expansion we’ve seen to date.
Which combination strikes up the best media deal will dictate which programs are included, if any, and which are forced to fend for themselves in a potentially undermanned league.