Hurt Feelings in the MWC

What’s going on between San Diego State and the Mountain West Conference?

Waiting too long in a waiting game.

San Diego State has champagne problems. They want to go to the Pac-12, and they are certain the Pac-12 will offer them a spot – after the Pac-12 finalizes a media deal. That’s the issue.  

There is no real deadline for a Pac-12 media deal. June 30th was viewed by many, including myself as the hard deadline because of San Diego State. 

A major assumption being made by everyone is that the Pac-12 would want SDSU ASAP. But, they still have 3 years left in the Mountain West (through the 2025/2026 season). 

When SDSU requests to leave impacts what they owe.

  • If San Diego State requests to leave the Mountain West on or before June 30th – They owe the conference approx. $16.5 million
  • If San Diego State requests to leave the Mountain West after June 30th – They owe the conference approx. $34 million

Two weeks of Letters

June 13th – San Diego State writes the Mountain West conference with two main requests. 

  • Extend the deadline to request leaving the conference from the end of June to the end of July.
  • Allow San Diego State to pay the $16.5 million they would owe if they left over a 4 year period

Basically, they want a golden parachute on their way out the door to greener pastures. It’s not hard to see arrogance in this initial request. 

June 15th – The Mountain West writes to San Diego State – thanks for the resignation letter, have a nice life. 

P.S. you owe us $16.5 million and we won’t let you pay us over four years.

Between June 15th and 30th – San Diego State writes to the Mountain West – the first letter was not a formal notice that we were leaving, please do not treat it as such.

June 30th – San Diego State formally announces they are not leaving the Mountain West

They just really want that to be clear – for if/when the lawyers get involved.

The Mountain West doubles down

July 1st is when San Diego State should receive their yearly payment for being in the Mountain West conference. This is primarily TV rights money (all sports), and NCAA tournament payout money. The Mountain West insists that San Diego State has left, and is holding the $6.6 million that would go to SDSU as a part of the $16.5 million they believe is owed to them for the exit fee.  

Aside – San Diego State’s phenomenal NCAA tournament run made the conference $10 million for the 2022/2023 fiscal year. 

Soooo, the Mountain West wants to kick out one of their biggest revenue generators? That seems ill-advised. 

Now What?

Today, 7/8/2023, this is where we sit. A conference and a member of said conference bickering, using mainly he said, she said, no take backs arguments.  The presidents of the Mountain West will meet on July 17th to discuss San Diego State’s standing in the conference.

If they let San Diego State back in (acknowledge they never left?), things should resolve pretty smoothly. If they decide San Diego State did leave, I expect things to get very messy and a lot of lawyers will make a lot of money. That is, up until San Diego State gets their golden ticket to the Pac-12 AND gets to leave for the cheaper exit fee.

Everything should be fine

I expect things to work out for San Diego State. It appears to me they didn’t leave the Mountain West. If it’s determined they did, the Pac-12 wants them. And worst case, the Big 12 would likely take them too. It would be crazy if they got hung out to dry and didn’t have a home for 2024. And nothing crazy ever happens in college football.

This article was written by Cole Tollison and edited by Hayden Breene

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