Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference have announced that they will combine into one football association (releases: C-USA; MWC).
The partnership will create a single football-only association consisting of 22 teams. That number could change if some members of either C-USA or MWC leave for another conference. CBS.com’s Brett McMurphy reported yesterday that the Big East is prepared to invite Air Force, Boise State, Navy and UCF.
This unique agreement between the two conference creates the first so-called “super conference” and one that spans five time zones. The consolidation could happen as soon as the 2012 season.
Earlier today, ESPN’s Joe Schad tweeted “Look for MWC-CUSA champs to play.” In order for that to happen, there will likely be the need for an NCAA rule change allowing the schools to play a 14th game.
“The role of a conference is to provide its members with the best possible environment in which to conduct their intercollegiate athletics programs,” said Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson. “Rather than await changes in membership due to realignment, it became clear the best way to serve our institutions was to pursue an original concept. The Mountain West and C-USA share a number of similarities, and the creative merger of our football assets firmly positions our respective members for the future.”
“The potential of this association is very exciting,” Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky said. “By taking an innovative approach, we feel we can offer tremendous opportunities for exposure and stability without breaking up the regional rivalries that truly make up the college football tradition.”