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Mountain West Armchair Commissioner: Adam

Check out the latest offering from this series.

What is your opening address about the state of the conference at media days?

The state of the conference is in a solid place, both competition and media-wise.

Over half the conference last season qualified for a bowl game. Three of those teams ended with 10 win seasons. Things in the conference have never been stronger between so many teams.

This has led to many great matchups for our media partners to feature. With many conferences transitioning networks, our deal with CBS Sports and Fox Sports allows the conference stability in a time with uncertainty among other conferences.

What are some innovative ways you would attempt to increase revenue for the conference?

I am a NASCAR fan, and they have a partner style of sponsorship at the highest level. Coca-Cola and Toyota help sponsor the app for the league. Coca-Cola, Geico and Xfinity are also partners of the Cup Series instead of one company alone. This could be something the Mountain West can look into to increase revenue.

Another way could be to get small logos from companies in the way that the NBA does. Allow teams to make local deals to help increase revenue.

Does this mean the conference would have to go fully autonomous? Perhaps, but they could be the leader in that instead of the followers like they have been for so many other things in sports.

What Olympic sports would you want to prioritize/build up?

This one would go the route of track and field.

Many of the football players in the conference also participate in this sport, so fans would know some of the names.

Plus it is one of the more popular competitions during the Olympics, our fans could follow competitors throughout their collegiate and professional careers in this sport much like in basketball and football.

What two committees would you join and why (pick from the list below)?

  • Transformation committee
  • Committee on Academics
  • Student-Athlete Advisory Committee
  • Committee on Infractions
  • Oversight Committee
  • Strategic Vision and Planning Committee
  • Student Athlete Experience Committee

The Committee on Academics and Strategic Vision and Planning Committee would be the two I would join.

With NIL taking a featured role in college sports, I feel there will be an increase in student athletes staying all four years of college. As we have all seen as well the transfer portal also has taken over in major college sports and what could get lost in all the money and transfers.

Being on the Committee on Academics could help shape and align policies that would help the transition for players to different colleges and different stages in their academic careers for the future, and to be innovative in those policies rather than reactive.

Speaking of innovation, being on the Strategic Vision and Planning Committee would require being able to read the landscape and act timely and appropriately to benefit institutions and athletes.

With NIL being instituted, the weight is now transitioning to the athlete having some more power, and media rights and sponsorship are only increasing at the micro and macro levels. Institutions and conferences have to be the actor and not the reactors in this day and age. We’ve seen conferences crumble because they are more reactionary rather than innovative.

Protected Games for each football team: What games would you protect for every team when the new football schedule comes out for the 2026 season? (Current protected games for reference)

Without a doubt, the Border War with Wyoming and Colorado State, along with the Freemont Cannon between Nevada and UNLV are at the top of the list.

The Valley Trophy between San Jose State and Fresno State has taken off in recent years, that would be one to protect.

The Spartans could also have their El Camino Real rivalry with San Diego State protected.

I’m liking the Boise State-BYU rivalry even though it is non-conference. And Boise State-Fresno State is one to protect as well.

Hawaii and Wyoming have a bit of a rivalry going so that could be another. That gives Wyoming two.

Both of New Mexico’s biggest rivals are non-conference opponents, so is Air Force’s. There’s no real need to protect conference games for those two, but could open the door for them to have a protected game against one another.

That leaves Utah State, they are in the same boat with Air Force and New Mexico. They’ve had a rivalry with Wyoming before. Having close proximity to Boise State would also allow for a rivalry to kindle.

Conference Realignment: Assuming the Mountain West will eventually need to expand, who are the top two teams you would choose as replacements?

Given their location and propensity for being strong at football, and providing a unique venue for other sports, the school at the top of the list would be Montana.

They appear to be a Boise State in waiting. Just a little convincing to move up would go a long way.

The second team I could go with, and really I could move them to number one, is UTEP.

The conference has dropped the ball with the big city team model and allowed Rice and UTSA to walk to the AAC. UTEP is really the last little school left in the West in a large city that the conference could cash in on football wise. I could also go for a Sacramento State given the same reason as for UTEP.

On the basketball side, I would take a run at San Francisco and see if it sticks or not. It is pie in the sky to try Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s. The Dons are the next viable option.

Bowl Tie-Ins: What are some realistic bowl tie-ins you would attempt to negotiate for the conference?

I love the LA Bowl and the tie in there, giving the conference trying to get a footing in the city. However, why do we not try to create another one in Denver?

The Mile High Bowl can be an agreement between the MWC and the Big 12 or Big 10. Heck the Big 10 is in every market except Denver, why wouldn’t they want to send a team there? If I were the MWC, I would still send the champions to LA, then the runners up to Denver.

With current bowls, I feel it would help if the conference could get a deal with the Frisco Bowl. It’s in the west, it’s in a state where football is religion and is on a big network in ESPN. Everything about this bowl screams opportunity for the conference.

Media Deal: What would be your realistic plan for the next media rights deal?

I have a love/hate relationship with our current deal. On the one hand, having games broadcast on CBS and Fox’s big networks have been huge. Especially as either lead into other big games (i.e. the 3:30 EST kick for SEC on CBS), or after big games (i.e. following Big Noon Kickoff on Fox), I think this helps the conference retain some viewers from other contests that we might not otherwise get.

However, the early kickoffs are rough for some schools. Having a 10 a.m. Mountain Time kickoff changes a lot for schools pregame. Might be helpful, but might be a detriment to fans attending that early.

I think keeping it with the same networks, but I wouldn’t mind seeing the conference do a made for TV event like a new bowl or a Big 10/ACC Challenge kind of thing in basketball that would help promote the conference. Heck you could tie the two events together with a “Bowl Tournament” on the basketball side and then lead up to the bowl game itself in the way the Sun Bowl does in El Paso.

Conference realignment is the biggest challenge for the conference moving forward.

The model has been shown that it is not necessarily how the teams do in football, but the fact of where they are. The conference has dropped the ball on this and they need to pick it up and move.

Allowing Rice to go to the AAC with the Dallas market was a huge mistake, along with UTSA. The conference needs to look at schools in moderate to bigger sized markets really over anything else.

I said El Paso and Sacramento earlier as options to explore. Another one could very well be Portland State. The conference needs to expand to bigger markets above media rights deals or bowl tie ins. With bigger markets everything else will fall into place with TV and bowls following suit. The footing in the bigger markets is what the networks will want to see and if the networks get big markets and sign on, bowl games will be right behind to get a piece of the media revenue.

Overall, the conference needs to take proactive measures in the future in order to be successful. Smaller teams in bigger markets is the way to go as is allowing for made for TV events. Whether we like it or not, that is the day we live in and the conference can jump aboard and build their now and their future to come.