DALLAS (HawaiiNewsNow) - Members the Mountain West conference and Conference USA announced Monday in a news release that the 16 schools will form a new conference that would begin competing in the 2013-14 season.
Presidents and chancellors from 16 universities including the University of Hawaii met in Dallas Sunday to discuss the future conference membership plans.
"This is an exciting development that will stabilize the current conferences and create the first truly national conference with members in five time zones and television viewership from coast to coast. This partnership brings together like-minded institutions to improve the integrity and stability of intercollegiate athletics," said UNLV President Neal Smatresk. "We are moving our plans forward rapidly and expect to complete our conversations in the near future. Look for further announcements soon as we work together on this exciting new venture."
Universities involved in the discussions were the United States Air Force Academy, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Colorado State University, East Carolina University, Fresno State, University of Hawai'i, Marshall University, University of Nevada, Reno, University of New Mexico, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Rice University, University of Southern Mississippi, University of Texas at El Paso, Tulane University, The University of Tulsa and University of Wyoming. With the exception of Hawaii as a football-only member, the participation would involve all sports.
The structure of the new conference will likely include:
- Membership of 18 to 24 universities
- National scope from the Atlantic Seaboard to Hawaii
- Championship football game format that includes semifinal match-ups
- Championship basketball tournament
- Regular season scheduling in divisions
- NCAA FBS affiliation
- Mechanisms to emphasize and improve academic standards and fiscal responsibility
The presidents and chancellors will have follow-up meetings over the next six months to fully develop the operational issues essential to the formation of the association.