Mountain West discussing expansion with interested schools
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Mountain West discussing expansion with interested schools, says commissioner

Significant conference realignments are coming soon for college football, and the Mountain West Conference is considering getting in on the action.

“We’re really just looking at the landscape and debating what expansion would mean for the Mountain West Conference,” MWC commissioner Craig Thompson told reporters Thursday, via the Fort Collins Coloradoan. “If it’s something that makes sense for us, we’ll look at that. But really, I’m defining it as we’re studying our options.”

Thompson said MWC athletic directors have been meeting “twice a week for several months now” to discuss the possibility and that he spoke on Thursday to the presidents of two universities interested in joining the conference.

Earlier in 2021, Oklahoma and Texas accepted invitations to join the SEC by 2025, although it's possible the pair of universities will do so sooner. The Big 12 responded to those impending departures by announcing that BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati, and Houston will join its ranks.

None of those moves directly affect the MWC (BYU left the conference in 2012 to become independent), but the shakeup does leave the conference with an opportunity to bolster its status among its Group of 5 peers. In particular, the MWC has a chance to leave the American Athletic Conference in the dust with the latter set to lose three of its top football programs (UCF, Cincinnati, and Houston).

While the AAC was reportedly set to fill its ranks by stealing away Colorado State and Air Force from the MWC, the universities opted to stay put, as did Boise State and San Diego State.

For now, the MWC has 11 full-time members with Hawaii added to the conference for football only.

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