The Mountain West and Conference USA held a conference call today to announce what we already found out before the call took place: the two conferences are going to merge in football.
During the call the two commissioners avoided the questions about schools such as Air Force, Boise State and UCF as best they could. That is until the Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky decided to answer a question about Central Florida leaving the conference. After acknowledging the school has been in contact with the Big East, Banowsky said "Do I expect to lose UCF? Not really."
As you might have seen earlier on BECB, we posted that Air Force, Boise State, Navy and UCF could get Big East invites next week. The Big East exit fee could also be raised to $10 million. I don't know whether or not Air Force, Boise State and UCF want to be part of a 22-team
superhugeconference that includes Hawaii AND East Carolina, but they did participate in the vote to explore this merger. The conference doesn't yet have a name. The earliest the merger could go into place would be 2012, but 2013 seems more likely.
If Air Force and Boise State join the Big East as football only members, they cannot leave their other sports in the Mountain West. Commissioner Craig Thompson responded to that question without hesitation with a "NO."
However, both commissioners repeatedly said if schools in their conferences feel it is best to leave, they are going to wish them well. I'll say this for both commissioners, they tried to sound convincing about this merger being a good idea.
In the meantime while we wait on things to happen, we will kindly remind you that there are Big East football games this weekend.
But, if you are dying to find out more about the Mount USA Conference or whatever name the contest winner comes up with (at least we think they were joking about the naming contest on the call), here is the press release. Also, stop by Mountain West Connection to lament and compare notes.