Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference have announced the two leagues will join forces and consolidate their conferences in football only. Officials with schools of both conferences have agreed in principle to the innovative plan to bring the 12 member CUSA and 10 member MWC together to protect the vitality of both leagues as the landscape of college football continues to change.
“This has the potential to be an exciting development for Marshall Athletics and I am intrigued by it,” said Marshall Director of Athletics Mike Hamrick. “This is an excellent alliance with a tremendous upside for all parties involved.”
Officials have been working on the deal for the past year and the proposal has been studied in depth for the past several months. Currently officials are considering a two division model with a championship game at the end of the season. As far as an automatic BCS bid for the champion of the league, that is an issue that hasn’t been discussed at length just yet. CUSA Commissioner Britton Banowsky says there’s no indication that this alliance would mean an automatic bid, but there’s no indication there wouldn’t be.
“No one can predict the future of the BCS at this point,” said Banowksy. “This is about a structure that can endure for a long time.”
It’s still up in the air whether or not the new conference will begin in 2012 but officials are focusing on 2013. Officials say they do want to try to play a championship in 2012.
"The role of a conference is to provide its members with the best possible environment in which to conduct their intercollegiate athletics programs," said Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson. "Rather than await changes in membership due to realignment, it became clear the best way to serve our institutions was to pursue an original concept. The Mountain West and C-USA share a number of similarities, and the creative merger of our football assets firmly positions our respective members for the future."
"I don’t think anyone has a clear idea what will happen in 2014, whether there will even be a BCS,” said Banowsky
Officials also confirmed that potential Big East institutions UCF, Air Force, and Boise State participated in the vote to combine the conferences.