The Big East is having a get together of current, as well as future members, and yes that does include the San Diego St. Aztecs. It seems that San Diego State is looking at all of their options before they make their Jan. 31 decision about the Mountain West.
The most obvious reason for these meetings are for San Diego State to get an idea of how much a Big East television deal would net them, and possibly also to see who the league is working on adding out in the Western half of the country.
ESPN's Andy Katz talks about how the Aztecs would be better off staying in the Mountain West, he notes that Hawai'i was playing in a half-empty crowd against UC-Irvine, and that could be San Diego State's future:
Look, San Diego State will continue to have Viejas Arena as a destination arena. But losing the marquee opponents could take its toll. Longtime coach Steve Fisher has worked tirelessly to get the Aztecs the national credibility it now has across the country. If SDSU leaves, it will dominate the Big West much like UNLV did during the late 1980s and early 90s.
If SDSU stays, then it guarantees it will be in a conference that will be a top-seven league for the foreseeable future with programs like UNLV and New Mexico as anchors and now surging programs like Colorado State, Wyoming and Boise State. Oh, and the league adds Utah State next season, easily one of the most consistent programs in the West that usually fails to get the proper respect nationally but always seems to win.
The decision seems easy for hoops, even with the recent television deal for San Diego State and the Big West which put at least 20 San Diego State events on Fox Sports, and another 12 on the Fox Sports affiliates in California.
Those games would be mostly regional broadcast, while the Mountain West basketball games will be on CBS Sports Network for top games, and others sold as packages to the highest bidder.
As for competition, San Diego State would also mirror Gonzaga of the West Coast Conference, who as we all know have been built up from very little to a big time national college basketball brand. That is nice and all, but they still have to play teams like San Francisco, San Diego, Portland and Loyola Marymount.
Compare that with the Mountain West where the worst teams in the league like Air Force have a winning record, and are very competitive at home. San Diego State would be subbing very good teams for the likes of UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside, Cal State Northridge and UC Davis, all of whom have a losing record.
Also, going to a softer Big West would not doubtingly cause San Diego State to miss out on the NCAA tournament if they stumble in the conference tournament. Head coach Steve Fisher can not be too happy about dropping down to an inferior league. Fisher has done a lot to play big time opponents, and bring them to Viejas Arena. As Katz says in his article, Fisher needs to make his voice heard about wanting to return to the Mountain West.
These meetings in Dallas hopefully will provide some more insight on what the Big East television deal will be, and that will allow San Diego State to make a decision on their future conference affiliation.
If there are no specifics discussed by the Big East regarding their media rights deal then San Diego State should run back to the Mountain West as fast as they can.