Oct 162011
 
Authors: Kevin Lytle

The Mountain West and Conference USA announced a football-only merger late Friday afternoon.
The 12 members of C-USA and 10 members of the MW will combine to form a 22-team, football conference.

Those 22 members are located in 16 different states, spanning from Florida to Hawaii.

“The role of a conference is to provide its members with the best possible environment in which to conduct their intercollegiate athletics programs,” MW Commissioner Craig Thompson said in a joint-statement released by the MW and C-USA. “Rather than await changes in membership due to realignment, it became clear the best way to serve our institutions was to pursue an original concept. The Mountain West and C-USA share a number of similarities, and the creative merger of our football assets firmly positions our respective members for the future.”

The announcement comes in the midst continuing conference shuffling.

According to various reports, MW members Air Force and Boise State are set to receive Big East invitations. Additionally, current C-USA members Southern Methodist University, University of Central Florida and Houston University are also said to have Big East invites coming.

The new league, which is yet to be named, will begin playing in either 2012 or 2013 and will have a conference championship.

C-USA has existing television partnerships with Fox Sports and CBS Sports, and ESPN for its championship game. The MW has partnerships with CBS Sports and Comcast/NBC Universal.
The new mega-conference is football only and will not affect other NCAA sports.

“The potential of this association is very exciting,” Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky said. “By taking an innovative approach, we feel we can offer tremendous opportunities for exposure and stability without breaking up the regional rivalries that truly make up the college football tradition.”

Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Lytle can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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