Looks like there is a new wrinkle in the soon-to-be league between the Mountain West and Conference USA. Originally it was originally reported that the two leagues would dissolve which would allow the two leagues to get out of their current television deals.
However, now dissolving of the leagues is off the table since the two leagues will loss NCAA tournament money if the leagues no longer exist:
However, if the leagues dissolved, then they would lose their NCAA tournament units -- teams earn about $250,000 for their conference for each round they advance in the NCAA tournament and that money is distributed to the conferences after a rolling six-year period. Dissolving the leagues would forfeit C-USA and the Mountain West millions of dollars.
So now C-USA and the Mountain West are no longer considering dissolving, but instead college football industry sources told CBSSports.com that the leagues are deciding between two options: merge into one league or remain as separate leagues, but share television, marketing and scheduling resources.
"Both are still viable," a source said. "There's really no clubhouse leader."
I am assuming the amount of money that would be lost is a significant amount of money to lose by creating a new league, and it brings this issue back to square one.
Of the two options presented merging makes the most sense, because sharing media rights and scheduling between the two leagues is dicey. There would be an issue if teams decide to change leagues such as what a buyout penalty would if any since they are leaving one league, but are hurting two in terms of television money.
If they share resources what happens to the current television deals, because Conference USA is with Fox Sports and CBS Sports Network while the Mountain West is with NBC Sports Network, The Mtn. and CBS Sports Network as well.
There would need to be some renegotiating because just combining those two things does not bring in any more money. So merging seems the best, but which way will it go.
My gut is that the two leagues will have a scheduling alliance until the current television contracts expire and then merge into one league, and then create a new media rights deal.
This whole merger or alliance stuff is really getting messy.