The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


C-USA, MWC merger shelved

For 16 Conference USA and Mountain West Conference presidents, time is running out.

As the two conferences continue to attempt to make an agreement for the big merge, word has gotten out that within the past couple of weeks the C-USA/MWC affair has found a few kinks in their relationship.

What seems to be the cause of most of the world’s problems is now a poke in the eye for the conference merger. Money.

With Southern Methodist University, Houston, and Central Florida paying $500,000 each to divorce the conference for bigger and better things in 2012-13, C-USA is set to cash in with a check around $6 million.

So what’s the problem? If C-USA and MWC decide to dissolve the conferences in order to form a new happy family all together, it would no longer seem necessary for SMU, Houston, and Central Florida to pay their way out.

Also, now that Memphis has made the decision to join the Big East too, it doesn’t seem fair that they would have to pay monies from NCAA tournament units either.

Last April, the 31 conferences were awarded $240,000 a game for the NCAA tournament games played from 2005-10. When the NCAA hands out money this April for 2006-11 tourneys, Memphis will have collected 18 units to four for all other C-USA schools combined.

In the case that C-USA does dissolve, it wouldn’t make since for Memphis to have to hand over their NCAA awarded cash.

Another reason for money being an issue is the problem with television contracts. In the beginning, the plan was to save money while improving the television contract but it turns out that it would cost more tournament revenue to off set any gains of an improved agreement.

Originally, the plan for the merger seemed golden. In February C-USA and MWC announced that they planned to fold and join schools to form a new conference including all 15 all-sports schools, with Hawaii for football only.

Now, both conferences seem to only have two options. Their first option (which is seeming the most likely choice) is to remain as two separate conferences for one or two seasons to form a type of alliance. By doing this, both sides can work together to iron out the kinks without losing insane amounts of money.

Although this decision seems like a no-brainer, the conferences can still risk going through with it by eliminating one conference for a full merger. With that being said, C-USA will be left with the decision to remain with only eight schools to split revenue with, or they can expand.

Schools such as North Texas, FIU, FAU, Charlotte, UTSA, Appalachian State and LA Tech are likely to be the top candidates.

As for MWC, they’ll be looking to expand in the next months after losing Boise State and SDSU to the Big East for non-football sports. Utah State and San Jose will be likely candidates for membership in the MWC as Air Force is still a threat to leave despite turning down an offer to the Big East.

In the case that the merger is put off for the next couple of seasons, MWC will more than likely remain with 10 football only members and 9 all-sports members to leave room for Boise and SDSU if they change their mind.

Despite the problems, the presidents are still going strong both publicly and privately. Dr. Scott Cowen, Tulane’s president and a C-USA leader told The Gazette of Colorado Springs, “We’re making good progress on all fronts.”

But if you have to bet on it, I’d bet that the conferences form an alliance for now and forget about the merger for another couple of seasons. 

More to Discover