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Mon., Feb. 13, 2012, 9:37 p.m.

MWC, C-USA forming new league

UPDATED: 9:40 p.m.

The 16 universities in the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA announced they are working on forming a new league that will begin in 2013-14. The new yet-to-be-named league will include 18-24 teams, according to the press release. That means the league would add two to eight schools, perhaps some from the WAC.

Click below for more, including a statement this evening from Idaho athletic director Rob Spear.


Could Idaho be included in this new league? There's no doubt the UI administration would love to create more stability by getting out of the WAC and joining a league that would include Western schools such as Nevada, Fresno State, UNLV and Colorado State.

In an email to The Spokesman-Review, Spear said, "A lot of unknowns at this time." UI posted a message from Spear on the Vandals' official site Monday evening in which he pointed to the six-month timeline from the C-USA and MWC to hammer out the specifics.

"In our opinion, any expansion of the MWC/CUSA beyond the current 16 teams will be driven by conference revenue, particularly television revenue," Spear said. "The University of Idaho, recognizing the possible implications to the WAC and while also recognizing similar academic and athletic missions and geographic proximity to several schools in the current Mountain West conference, will continue to monitor closely the situation over the next several months.”

In a story published Sunday by the Coeur d'Alene Press, Vandals football coach Robb Akey had this to say related to conference movement:

“To be real honest with you,” Akey said, “my preference would be to see the WAC football schools end up getting absorbed with the Mountain West and Conference USA. That’s the best thing in the world that could happen for us. That helps us in recruiting, that helps us in competing, and that makes it like what we had.”

Akey said it would be easy to put together a scheduling agreement with the Pac-12, much like the Pac-12 has put together with the Big Ten. He said that would save on the cost of travel, among other things — “as opposed to having a conference that goes from Hawaii to Florida,” he said.

The Vandals lost out on cornerback recruit Cranston Jones because of conference realignment, Akey said on Feb. 2 in announcing his recruiting class. Jones opted for New Mexico -- a current member of the MWC.

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