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Mountain West may levy fines for poor basketball shedule

Will the conference fine schools for not scheduling tough enough?

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

While the Mountain West has been lauded as being close to a major basketball conference, one thing has held the league back and that is some of the member institutions are not scheduling tough non-conference games. Even good teams are not always scheduling up.

During Mountain West media days in Las Vegas, commissioner Craig Thompson may have a solution to punish teams who keep scheduling low-major teams or even non-Division I competitions, and that is to fine schools for the lack of scheduling.

"It's been the last couple of years we haven't been able to schedule the way we need to," Thompson said during his session with the media. "I would think we could talk about it this fall and this winter, and maybe by the May spring meeting, we can say hypothetically say by the 2017 season, 'you cannot play more than X, and you do have to play as many Y,' whatever parameters we come up with."

Thompson said programs that are not meeting the scheduling parameters would be hit with a fine. This is still in the early process and the details of what constitutes of an acceptable basketball schedule.

"Some of the debate has been, 'I'm better off paying the penalty than scheduling on the road,' which defeats the purpose of it," he said. "It's a membership-driven initiative; we can help, but it's the membership that has to dictate and buy in ultimately."

If the penalty is not severe enough than why even put it in place if it is not going to hurt the program. The goal of a conference is not to hurt its own kind and there would need to be some balance because getting high quality teams -- or whatever the baseline line would be -- for home games needs to be discussed. Wyoming has had a tough time getting opponents to come to Laramie due to the altitude and then add in that the Cowboys are a good squad.

The league would need to help schedule games with maybe doing more conference cross overs or something to help the league boost its strength of schedule for post season bids it there is in fact going to be a fine toward a school.

UNLV head coach Dave Rice is not one to be concerned with being fined and that is easy to say for the Rebels coach who is in charge of a program who can get big name schools on their home court. Yet, he is correct that other members of the league need to do their part.

"I think it's important for the conference to do things to try to help all the member institutions schedule as tough as we possibly can," said Rice. "I like the fact that there's a discussion and we're talking about all playing more difficult non-conference schedules."