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Cost to Nevada/Fresno might only be $2.5M

The Fresno Bee has an article up with some quotes from the Bulldogs' Athletic Director:

Fresno State athletic director Thomas Boeh disputed the amount the university would owe, contending the maximum exit fee is $2.5 million, with Nevada and Fresno State splitting the fine.

"There's always going to be some hard feelings," Boeh said. "The important thing now is to let things settle down a bit so it's a little bit more of a calmer atmosphere, and let legal counsel settle matters.

"I can tell you that the absolute maximum fee Fresno State will face is $2.5 million."

The whole article is here, and is a good summary of where this whole thing stands.

There's also this from Dan Hinxman from the Reno Gazette:

There was potential good news for both Nevada and Fresno State, who on Wednesday accepted invitations to join the Mountain West Conference. WAC Commissioner Karl Benson said he expects both universities to pay a $5 million exit fee, per an agreement reached between the conference and its schools last week, within 60 days. There is also the issue of an entrance fee to join the MWC, reportedly around $1 million.

Fresno State athletic director Thomas Boeh told the Fresno Bee on Friday that Fresno State would not have to pay the entrance fee and that the Bulldogs would have to pay at most $2.5 million to the WAC.

A call Friday evening to Nevada athletic director Cary Groth was not immediately returned, but it would be reasonable to expect both schools would be treated equally. Also, Thompson has said that Nevada, Fresno State and Boise State, which in June announced it would join the MWC in 2011, would pay the same entrance fee.

That article is here.

This all seems to center on a clause in the WAC agreement that if any team during the 5 year period of the agreement left, then the other teams in the WAC were free from the deal. It's unclear from the first article whether the Bulldogs' AD believed the two teams would split the $2.5M or if they would owe $2.5M each. Reading between the lines, it looks like Nevada and Fresno may have come to an agreement to split the buyout between them, hence the $2.5M figure.

Obviously, this whole situation will eventually be resolved in the courts. We'll see how Nevada never actually signing the deal affects all this, and Benson wants the schools to pay the buyout within 60 days, per the agreement, so that may play into the equation as well. Also, I'm wondering if Fresno and Nevada conspiring to split the buyout could somehow be a breach of contract.

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