The Aggies are now in a second round of negotiations in an attempt to join the Mountain West and leave the sinking ship known as the WAC. With the buyout clause now not in effect every school should be or is on the look out for a new home. So far only Utah State only Hawaii is actively looking at new options:
Given reports that Hawaii is also considering going independent in football and entered into at least preliminary discussions with the Big West about its non-football sports, Benson acknowledged Tuesday that everybody in the league is now back in play - including the Aggies.
"It wouldn't surprise me to know that Utah State is having conversations with the Mountain West Conference," Benson told The Tribune. "That's probably a phase that applies to all of us now. It's the operative phase."
All of this depends on if the Mountain West is going to be an eleven or twelve team league and that also depends on what BYU does.
If BYU stays an eleven team league is not good for football because teams do not play each other and there is no chance for a title game; then for basketball no team is going to play a twenty team conference schedule. Utah State is looking more of a likely candidate then Houston because there is some strict penalties for Houston leaving C-USA:
A number of reports indicate that the University of Houston might be an option for the Mountain West should the conference choose to expand, giving TCU a travel partner. According to the source, Conference USA, the league Houston belongs to, also has a buyout penalty, although the amount of the fee is not known.
"In the language of the departure penalty, any school that attempts to leave the conference would be subject to any liquidated damages that would result in the loss of the television contract for the conference," the source said.
Proving someone attempted to leave a league can be difficult to prove legally unless there is some hard proof that there was plan set in place. Unless Houston does a deal like BYU did with the WAC (really I am not trying to pile on) where they can find evidence of trying to leave that will be hard to enforce.
It is starting to look like Utah State is inching their way to the Mountain West with our without BYU in the league. The Mountain West should only consider Utah State if BYU is not in the league, because they need to try to keep the Mtn. network in the state.
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