A proposed merger between the Mountain West and Conference USA ?probably will not happen,? college football industry sources told CBSSports.com.
The leagues had hoped to dissolve and form a new league or merge into one league for the 2013-14 season, but that is now ?unlikely? at least for the immediate future, sources said. Even though the leagues would remain separate, they are still working together to figure out a way to share television, marketing and scheduling resources.
?There is not much talk about a formal merger of the conferences into one conference entity in the near term, but that is still a future consideration,? a source said.
By deciding to remain as separate leagues, both leagues would likely pursue additional members from other leagues to replace the schools that have left or will be leaving. After next season, Conference USA is losing UCF
, Southern Methodist
, while the Mountain West, which loses TCU
this summer, is losing Boise State
and San Diego State
Because of these defections, the Mountain West will have to expand.
That's because each FBS league is required to sponsor at least eight women's sports and six men's sports, with at least six member schools competing in each sport. Based on the MWC's website, the league will not have schools in 2013-14 competing in baseball and men's cross country. C-USA also would need to add more schools to keep women's swimming as a conference sport.
Sources said Utah State
and San Jose State
are the top candidates to join the MWC in 2013. There also remains a possibility UTEP could move from C-USA to the Mountain West. Without a merger, it's unknown if the Miners could simply switch conferences.
The most likely candidates to join C-USA in 2013 are Louisiana Tech
, North Texas
and Florida International
. Charlotte also is a possibility, but the 49ers won't even begin playing football until 2013 and wouldn't be able to join the FBS ranks until 2015 at the earliest. Louisiana Tech also is a target of the Sun Belt, which recently added Georgia State
and could also add other members.