MWC, Conference-USA to merge next year

The 16 teams scheduled to form the new conference will begin
in the 2013-14 academic year.
Dalton Runberg / The Collegian

Fresno State officials announced the formation of a new conference that will span from the Atlantic Seaboard to the Hawaiian Islands on Monday. The announcement came after 16 university presidents from across the nation met in Dallas Sunday to discuss the formation of the intercollegiate athletic association that would begin competition in the 2013-14 academic year.

“The 16 universities have agreed to come together and plan for an association with the commitment of a new conference,” President John Welty said. “A new conference devoted to student-athletes and the integrity of the student-athletes.”

Fresno State was already committed to joining the Mountain West Conference in the 2012-13 school year, but with the new league fans can expect to see more high-profile games, a tournament-format postseason and television coverage in the 2013-14 year.

Director of Athletics, Thomas Boeh expressed his concerns about the stability of the University financially, and hopes the merger will help to bring stability and make more resources available to Fresno State.

“The direction everyone is going is towards larger conferences of 12 and even discussions of 16 different teams in the conferences,” Boeh said. “So subsequently in order to create stability these days is to get well into double digits and that is what this league will bring.”

Boeh said that running a university has turned into an every-institution-for-themselves type of business, and Fresno State simply refused to stand still. Boeh believes the opportunity that the Bulldogs have created with moving to the Mountain West and now merging with Conference USA, has put the university in a position of stability.

According to the Mountain West, the structure of the new conference will be different from any other conference in the nation. For football, teams in the new conference will face off in a championship bracket that includes a semifinal round.

The conference will have a championship basketball tournament that leads into March Madness.

The football team will still play the same amount of conference games, but scheduling will overlap with teams from five different time zones.

“[The merger] stabilizes having a very good conference home schedule, as well as when we have crossover games with the other division in this new conference,” Boeh said.

New head football coach Tim DeRuyter, who hopes to bring a certain spark to a struggling football team, expressed his happiness with the new conference on Monday.

“No one really knows what the future is going to be,” DeRuyter said. “In 2013-14 there may not even be a BCS. So to position ourselves where we can be apart of a playoff system, I think, is a nice position to be in.”

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