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Mountain West tournament changes courses, will allow entire league in postseason

The Mountain West presidents could be changing their vote and keep the conference tournament allowing all teams to participate.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATE 3/11/16: The Mountain West released a statement saying the tournament will remain as is.

As part of its annual meeting held today in conjunction with the Conference basketball tournaments, the Mountain West Board of Directors committed to a traditional format for the MW Basketball Championships which includes all Conference teams. This course of action ensures the best possible decisions for the Conference as a whole, its individual member institutions, the student-athletes and their many fans across the Western United States.

Original story:

The Mountain West tournament announced a big move in December to slash the Mountain West tournament from including all member institutions down to eight.

Well that may be changing and according to Geoff Grammar of the Albuquerque Journal News, the presidents are expected to change their decision this Friday at a scheduled board of directors meeting and keep the conference tournament at full membership.

From the Journal:

The change of heart, should it be made official Friday, seems to be twofold: The fact that the league's coaches were not on board with the decision, as some presidents believed they were at the time of their vote, and the realization that the logistics of such a move would prove to be extremely burdensome to fan bases, travel, existing hotel contracts in Las Vegas and other matters.

Another reason this is likely changed because the presidents were under the impressions the coaches were on board when the athletics directors brought up a possible change in the tournament format.

That was not the case as Tracy Ringolsby found out through emails and wrote about the coaches comments about the change in the conference tournament format.

"Hopefully you remember the discussion we had in May at the Arizona Biltmore where we unanimously voted for all the teams to participate in the tournament,'' San Diego State head coach Steve Fisher wrote to his fellow coaches.

"Commissioner Craig Thompson asked point blank if we could reduce field to eight to get us into the MGM Garden Arena,'' wrote Fisher. "I said emphatically no, that no one was in favor of that. In that room at the time were Dave Rice, the UNLV head coach at the time; Air Force's Dave Pilipovich; myself; and Commissioner Thompson along with the AD at Nevada, the Assistant AD at Wyoming and either the assistant or the AD from Vegas."

Former UNLV head coach Dave Rice and Nevada's Eric Musselman said they were not aware of the decision about dropping the tournament to eight teams until they read about it. Every coach in the conference voted to keep the tournament at 11 teams, but for some reason the presidents decided to override that decision.

Now it seems that the presidents have ended up making the right choice by likely changing course and allowing all teams to participate in the conference tournament.