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Livengood on recent realignment: ‘It is more than crazy’


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck talks with Athletic Director Jim Livengood following their game against Wisconsin Saturday, September 4, 2010 at Sam Boyd Stadium. Wisconsin won the game 41-21.

The next step for the Mountain West Conference is uncertain, but behind closed doors it’s been under way, just waiting for this day. And no matter what happens, UNLV Athletic Director Jim Livengood is confident that the Rebel programs will persevere.

And they’ll also be in one piece.

“We’re not going to split our programs up, that doesn’t make any sense,” Livengood said Wednesday, hours after Boise State and San Diego State’s departures for the Big East became official. “… To me, that absolutely is selling a number of your programs down the drain.”

Boise State and San Diego State are leaving the Mountain West for the Big East in football only. Their other sports will head to different destinations — reportedly the Big West for San Diego State and the WAC, again, for Boise State.

As for the future of UNLV and what remains of the Mountain West, the groundwork has been put in place over the past few months.

“There’s a lot of conversations having already gone on,” Livengood said. “As far as the two conferences, Conference USA and the Mountain West together, or other potential schools as far as expansion. So there’s a lot of conversations. There’s no timeline on it. Part of it had to be after today happened. … I think we’ll see things ratchet up pretty fast now.”

A C-USA-Mountain West merger in all sports, instead of just football, has been floated as a possibility in the last 48 hours, and it makes a lot of sense. The two conferences already have a working relationship and an investment in the other’s success.

Of course, poaching a couple of schools — most likely from the WAC — may be a more practical fix. Air Force indicated on Wednesday that it would stay in the Mountain West, so the conference may only need a couple of schools to remain viable. Plus, keeping the additions limited to the west coast help keep the non-revenue sports’ travel budgets from ballooning.

To hear it from Livengood, the first option seems the most likely.

“(Our focus is) doing the very best job we can for the Rebels, and then for the Mountain West and working with Conference USA,” he said. “I’m very optimistic that we’re going to have some great things happen.”

Conference realignment is an increasingly bizarre and surreal series of moves that has landed 10 teams in the Big 12 and 12 teams in the Big Ten.

The newest twist has San Diego State competing in a league whose headquarters are just more than 3,000 miles from campus.

When Livengood sits back to look at all that’s happened, he still can’t get his head around it.

“It is more than crazy. It doesn’t make any sense,” Livengood said. “How you’re going to convince your fans, your recruits and all those groups; it makes no sense to play across the continental United States like that. But that’s their issue. I wish them luck, have fun, go to it.

“That’s not for us.”

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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  1. I think Boise State and San Diego State made a bad choice joining a conference on the other side of the country and for football only. I think the BCS format is on its last leg and will have to be changed. San Diego State isn't and never was a football power, so I don't understand their thinking if the BCS format is thrown out. I think all this conference hopping for monetary reasons will backfire just because of the added expense of traveling that far and more.

  2. I believe this move is more about TV revenue than it is the BCS. The Mtn is killing this conference.

  3. The Mtn contract pays more that ESPN ever did. Try again.

  4. Boy, BSU was REALLY upset the MWC wouldn't allow them to wear blue uniforms on a blue field, weren't they? Bet the Big East will...

  5. I would think that the Big East will not retain their automatic inclusion in the BCS Bowls. Adding Boise Stae and SDSU is good only if you consider Boise State. I also think people are about fed up with the BCS setup and there will be a movement to do away with the BCS and go to playoff system like in the rest of the NCAA sports. Whatever happens UNLV will be just fine because BB has been the face sport of the University since the beginning, IMO.

  6. Come on Jerry. Espn offered less when the mnt was worth less. A new contract a couple years ago (when it was needed) would have been for much more. Also the mnt is fine when combined with espn. That's what the big guys do and if we can't get it then it is absolutely the mnt network that is killing us NOW. On a side note if Jim doesn't understand that the worst AQ teams are still more relevant, and rich,than the best mid major teams then maybe we need a new ad. We have just learned multiple times that the teams and conferences that wait and see are the ones who are left behind. I garentee that the bball tourney will eventually be limited to the super conferences as well.

  7. Attn: Taylor Bern

    It was reported befor that Boise would have to pay 21 Million as an exit fee to the MWC. Do you know how much SDSU will have to pay and do you know how these monies will be split?
    An even split and UNLV will make out in this deal!

  8. I think it's good for Boise State to be in a more competitive conference, but all the way across the US? I'd rather see BSU in the Big10. Wish that could have worked itself out some how.

    I agree with Livengood about the fans and boosters. Moving them that far way from Boise is a disservice to them. I understand they want to have a chance to be in the hunt, but man that's a long commute.

    I'll admit I know very little about how the BCS junk works...who is a mid major and who isn't...thus making them eligible - and yes, it's junk - more on that in a minute - but couldn't BSU wait for an opportunity to join the Pac12? Or better yet, pull a Notre Dame and become an independent? Then they could pick and choose their schedule and have a more realistic chance at a national championship. But I suppose there is no money in that - as ND has a TV deal with NBC, whilst BSU has nothing approaching that kind of $.

    Now, LSU & Bama. I heard it on one of the radio shows, and it was a good point made. LSU has already beaten Bama, so the motivation 'factor' (if there is one) is definitely with Bama. LSU has 'already been there, done that'. So that edge goes to Bama. I sincerely hope LSU wins this game by 30 plus points - to give more credence to disbanding this stupid BCS system. Let's get a playoff system going for crying out loud. The lower levels do it and it's fricking exciting!

  9. Lets get the new stadium built. If they want to make UNLV more like an Austin, Texas experience, I'm in. Need to raise the level of play in football and the next time the Pac 12 has expansion lets be ready. Golf, Baseball, Basketball, Swimming, are solid. Livengood knows the Pac 12 social circles, Las Vegas is a great place to travel to for other boosters in the west, we're the next attractive market we best get our house in order.