Promoted to the front page from the fan post section
The MWC directors meet today in Las Vegas, and the subject of conference expansion is on the agenda. According to a report by Ferd Lewis of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, what they hear from Comcast will likely go a long way toward whether they follow up the addition of Hawaii with expansion to 12 members or sit tight at 10. That decision could go either way, he noted, with a 50-50 chance of happening.
Some conference members of the MWC have told the paper they favor a 12-team conference, that includes Nevada-Las Vegas. Others are said to lean to remaining at 10, a group that includes Boise State. Still others, Lewis noted, like San Diego State's Stepehn Weber, want to wait until they have spoken with other conference presidents before making a decision. New MWC members Nevada, Fresno State, and Hawaii are also attending the conference, but it is not clear want vote they will have in any MWC decision. With TCU leaving for the Big East in 2012, it will not have voting rights.
MWC commissioner Craig Thompson has said that any expansion candidates will have to bring "added value" to the league. He also said recently that Texas schools would be of interest. With Houston and SMU hoping for a Big East invite to join TCU, any expansion decision could come later this summer after the BE adds a 12th member. A defection by Houston from CUSA could lead to those Texas schools open to a MWC membership. At present, Houston and SMU have indicated a reluctance to make what they consider a lateral move.
Other candidates seeking membership are WAC members Utah State, San Jose State, and Idaho. Talk around the MWC have centered on Utah State and UTEP being added. But a new report out of Texas may put that possibility to rest. This past Thursday, UTEP president Diana Natalicio told Joe Muench, the sports reporter for the El Paso Times, that UTEP is committed to stay in a league with Houston, Rice, SMU - the western C-USA. A Texas school, UTEP staying with Texas schools is key, she told him.
If the MWC is seriously looking at Texas for expansion members, that statement by UTEP's Natalicio would indicate the MWC needs to get at least two Texas teams on board, thus leaving out the possiblity of adding another WAC team to the league.