Starting in the 2013-14 academic year, all CSU sports will compete in a new conference consisting of schools spanning from the east coast all the way to Hawaii.
The new conference, which is yet to be named, will be compromised of teams currently in the Mountain West and Conference USA.
The conference currently consists of 16 schools, but is expected to ultimately have anywhere from 18-24 members.
â€œObviously this is a much larger conference and it presents us with an opportunity to deliver a more competitive schedule to our fans,â€ CSU Athletic Director Jack Graham said in a statement.
The conference is expected to be broken into divisions based on regions with regular season scheduling based on those divisions.
â€œIt’s exciting for a couple reasons,â€ football coach Jim McElwain said in a statement. â€œOne, because we get to show off what’s going on here at Colorado State not only to a regional area, but nationally. And two, we preserve those regional rivalries with Air Force and Wyoming.â€
The football schedule will include a conference championship game with semi-final matchups leading up to it.
“It is expected this new conference will deliver a playoff series between the best teams in the eastern and western divisions,â€ Graham said. â€œOur fans will like this, and itâ€™s a good example for the rest of college football.â€
Presidents and chancellors of the 16 schools currently involved in the conglomerate met on Sunday in Dallas to discuss the plans.
Universities involved in the discussions are the Air Force Academy, University of Alabama at Birmingham, CSU, East Carolina University, Fresno State, University of Hawaii, Marshall University, University of Nevada, University of New Mexico, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Rice University, University of Southern Mississippi, University of Texas-El Paso, Tulane University, The University of Tulsa and University of Wyoming.
Of those schools, only Southern Miss ended the 2011 in the top-25 in football. Currently UNLV is the only ranked team in menâ€™s basketball. None are ranked in womenâ€™s basketball. Only CSU was ranked in volleyball at the end of the 2011 season.
The new conference will encompass all Division I sports for every member except for Hawaii, which will be a football-only member.
This announcement comes after the MW and C-USA announced a football-only merger in October. Since then the MW has lost TCU, San Diego State and Boise State to other conferences while C-USA lost Central Florida, Houston and Southern Methodist.
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 NBC Sports Network in addition to its own network, The Mtn.
“I do believe that one plus one is more than two in this instance,â€ Graham said. â€œThe Mountain West and Conference USA is a good marriage.â€
Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Lytle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schools by time zone
Hawaii time zone: Hawaii
Pacific: Fresno State, Nevada, UNLV
Mountain: Air Force, CSU, New Mexico, Wyoming
Central: University of Alabama-Birmingham, Rice, Southern Miss, UTEP, Tulane, Tulsa
Eastern: East Carolina University, Marshall