SDSU staying in Mountain West

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego State University ditched plans for its
football team to join the Big East Conference and to shift most of its other
sports to the Big West, deciding Wednesday to stick with the Mountain West
Conference.

The decision came before any SDSU team played in the Big East or Big West.

The school will pay a $1.5 million exit fee to the Big West Conference.
Nothing is owed to the Big East.

In December 2011, SDSU President Elliot Hirshman announced that the
Aztecs would play in the Big East, lured by the prospect of getting at least $6
million annually in television money, far in excess of what the school now
gets.

But Big East Conference leaders never were able to strike a television
deal amid the departure of the University of Louisville and Rutgers University.
Boise State University, which went to the Big East, announced its return to the
Mountain West Conference last month.

Hirshman and athletic director Jim Sterk attended a Big East meeting on
Friday in Dallas, but were not provided any revenue details, according to U-T
San Diego.

“After substantial discussion and consideration of a broad range of
factors, San Diego State University will be continuing as a full member of the
Mountain West Conference in July 2013,” Hirshman and Sterk said in a joint
statement.

“We have the deepest respect for our colleagues in the Mountain West,
Big East and Big West conferences with whom we have worked collaboratively
during the period of conference realignment. We are optimistic about the future
of San Diego State University's athletic programs and the prospect of building
on our university's rich tradition of intercollegiate athletics.”

The decision ends a long-running debate by fans over whether the
original move was a wise one. While recognizing a decline in fan interest in MW
opponents and a need to increase revenue for football, SDSU boosters were
distressed over sending their nationally ranked men's basketball program to the
Big West.

The Mountain West, of which SDSU is a charter member, is ranked as the
third-best men's basketball conference in the nation by realtimerpi.com, while
the Big West is 19th.

The decision by Hirshman and Sterk to remain in the MW came just hours
before the Aztecs host UNLV in a key men's hoops matchup at Viejas Arena.

Categories: KUSI