SBD/Issue 64/Collegiate Sports

Hawaii To Join MWC For Football, Big West For Other Sports In '12

Hawaii Football Will Join MWC For '12 Season,
Leaving WAC With Seven Football Schools

The Univ. of Hawaii Friday announced that it has "received -- and accepted -- invitations to join the Mountain West Conference in football and the Big West Conference in all other sports except men's volleyball, sailing and swimming and diving," according to Stephen Tsai of the HONOLULU STAR ADVERTISER. UH was the Western Athletic Conference's "senior member, having joined in 1979," but it will secede from the conference on June 30, 2012. UH AD Jim Donovan: "This is what our coaches want and what our fans want, and we delivered." Tsai noted the announced departures of Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada and UH to the MWC "will leave the WAC with seven football-playing schools in 2012, including Texas State and Texas San-Antonio, both of which will join that year." Donovan said that the geography of the WAC is "moving eastward" and that he is concern "eventually some of those schools would start asking for travel subsidies because of the cost, for them, to travel to Hawaii." Instead, the university "will participate in 'cost sharing' -- meaning it will pay subsidies -- for Mountain West and Big West schools traveling to Hawaii." Tsai also noted UH "will relinquish the television rights to its sports to the Mountain West and Big West." UH "earns roughly $2.5 million, mostly from pay-per-view subscriptions, in a deal with Oceanic Time Warner Cable" and KFVE-MYT (HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER, 12/11).

EXPANDING FURTHER? San Diego State Univ. President Stephen Weber said that the MWC "will consider further expansion, possibly to 11 or 12 teams," after UH became the 10th football-playing member. Weber said that he "doesn't expect" for the league to make a decision on expansion "in January." But he added if the MWC BOD is "serious about looking at a couple of teams, we'd probably do that through the rest of the spring and make a decision in June." Weber said that Hawaii "brings $2.2 million TV revenue that now will be added to the MWC revenue-sharing pot." SDSU AD Jim Sterk said that Hawaii "would pay $150,000 to $175,000 per trip to teams that play there" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 12/11).

NO WIN SITUATION: YAHOO SPORTS' Matt Hinton noted the "disintegration of the WAC continued apace" with the loss of Hawaii. But for the MWC, the "poaching trip isn't going to help its Quixotic push to secure an automatic BCS bid for its champion nearly as much as the defections" of BYU, Utah and TCU "are going to hurt." Hinton: "Even if it goes ahead with more potential additions, it looks like treading water for the Mountain West, at best" (, 12/10).

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