The Mountain West announced today on its official Twitter feed that it, “has extended an offer of membership to California State University, Fresno and the University of Nevada, Reno.”
Two Salt Lake City outlets reported today that BYU will soon leave the Mountain West conference and go independent in football while joining the WAC for all other sports.
In lieu of the Mountain West invitation, the FRESNO BEE has since reported:
Fresno State will announce this evening that it has accepted an invitation to join the Mountain West Conference, sources with knowledge of the situation told The Bee this afternoon.
The RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL had this official reaction to the MWC invitation from Nevada:
University of Nevada President Milton Glick said today that Nevada is considering an invitation to join the Mountain West Conference.
“We are honored to have received the invitation to join the Mountain West Conference,” Glick wrote in an news release. “We are seriously considering the invitation and do so with the best interests of our athletics program, university, community and Wolf Pack fans as our priority.”
Despite Nevada’s lack of confirmation, a Mountain West administration source told me today that the school will indeed accept the invitation of the MWC and agree - like Fresno State - to pay the five-million dollar buyout as contractually obligated by the WAC.
Ryan Greene of the LAS VEGAS SUN reported of that buyout today:
Further expansion for the Mountain West could be tricky, too, as the remaining WAC schools a week ago signed a five-year agreement that would force leaving members to pay a $5 million buy-out during that window. That, obviously, includes Nevada-Reno and Fresno State, who have both been expansion targets of the MWC’s in recent months.
The same source has informed me that Boise State has no intention of returning to the WAC. It had been rumored in the past 48 hours that the Broncos were considering such action after BYU made clear it was departing the MWC.
Also, I was told today by a WAC official that Louisiana Tech and UTEP may be swapping conferences soon - with UTEP returning to the WAC and La. Tech joining Conference USA.
If it happens, the move would be made because of logistical considerations.