You can probably stick a fork in the merger idea. With only a few months left until the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA would move to a full merger, it appears the NCAA might have just driven a stake thru the heart of that monster. According to several reliable sources, the NCAA has told both the MWC and C-USA that the proposed merger would give the league only one AQ berth to postseason events. At the present time, each program has its own awarded slot. So instead of two leagues with two AQs, there would a single 16+ team league and only one AQ.
Here's another sobering zinger and it could be a deal breaker: all the exit fees owed to the conferences by departing members would be null and void if either conference merged with another. Another bucket of cold water that was dumped on the two conferences was the loss of any of the NCAA Tournament revenue money owed by departing members.
All told, that could add up to a lot of scratch.
With that scenario, there is every chance that the conferences will move back to the original football-only alliance idea proposed several years ago by MWC commissioner Craig Thompson. That would put the MWC back to square one and facing the loss of Boise State and SDSU which would take the conference down to 8 football schools. Also keep in mind that the conference would only have 7 teams for their Olympic sports because Hawaii’s sports programs are going into the Big West.
No surprising is that the MWC will need at least two more warm bodies just to get back to 10 members ( I am sure we all noticed that commissioner Thompson visited both both San Jose State and Utah State a few days ago). If the merger fails the MWC will seek to expand and back to 10 teams, and possibly hold out on two more openings that could take it to 12 in case Boise State and San Diego State were to elect to stay in the conference if the Big East move falls short.
Should the MWC expand instead of merge, the most likely candidates would be both SJSU and Utah State, with the possibility of LA Tech and one or two WAC Texas teams headed to CUSA. That move would probably finish the Western Athletic Conference as a football league and force most of the remaining football members to join the Sun Belt Conference.