Mountain West addresses realignment, expansion on the table

The conference, which is still whole, is exploring all options to strengthen itself.

Fresh off the latest round of conference realignment that has shaken collegiate athletics, the Mountain West has affirmed its commitment to strengthen the league, which includes possible expansion targets. 

While the conference nearly lost San Diego State as a member, the 12 teams that have made up the league for the last decade are still together. 


The backstory: Colorado jump-started the exodus from the Pac-12 a couple weeks ago when it left for the Big 12, shortly followed by Arizona, Arizona State and Utah last week. 

  • Oregon and Washington also followed suit with a move to the Big 10, leaving behind Cal, Oregon State, Stanford and Washington State as the last remaining Pac-12 members. 
  • San Diego State caused a scare in the Mountain West last month when it announced that it was leaving for the Pac-12 before that conference imploded, only to backpedal when an actual offer from the Pac-12 turned out to not be on the table at the time. 

The big picture: The Mountain West released a statement on conference realignment on Wednesday reaffirming the commitment from all 12 universities to the conference. 

  • The conference is exploring the addition of new schools, something Commissioner Gloria Nevarez and Board of Directors Chair Garnett Stokes – the President of New Mexico – will lead and present to the board. 

State of play: Multiple reports on Tuesday linked Cal and Stanford to the Atlantic Coast Conference with the Big 10 and Big 12 both appearing to be done with expansion for the moment. 

  • That would leave Oregon State and Washington State without a home. They would seemingly be the Mountain West’s top targets for expansion given their proximity as a natural fit to the conference. 
  • The ACC is also reportedly interested in adding SMU to the conference, showing possible cracks in the American Athletic Conference that the Mountain West could possibly use to its advantage with further expansion. 

What they’re saying: “We are strong in who we are and proud of the exceptional experience we provide the student-athletes of the Mountain West Conference,” the league said in a statement. 

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