San Diego State’s awkward few weeks in flux have ended.
Per Yahoo Sports, the Mountain West Conference has told the school that it will remain a member of the conference, weeks after the school notified the conference that it intended to leave. But no offer from another conference (with the Big 12 and Pac-12 frequently mentioned) materialized, leaving the Aztecs in the lurch.
After San Diego State told the Mountain West that it would withdraw, it asked for an extension on a June 30th deadline, which was denied. The school then backpedaled from their intention to depart, but the Mountain West didn’t accept their non-withdrawal and withheld money owed to the school.
Here’s more on that from the Yahoo story.
SDSU told the Mountain West in a letter last month that it “intends to resign” from the conference next summer. The school sent that letter before July 1 in order to cut down its exit fee from about $34 million to $17 million.
SDSU, however, didn’t have any set plans as to where it would go. The school later asked the Mountain West for an extension on the June 30 deadline to figure that out, which the conference denied. Just before the deadline hit, SDSU told the conference it wasn’t going to withdraw after all.
But the Mountain West wasn’t having it. The conference rejected that letter, saying that SDSU had already formally withdrawn and owed the exit fee. Earlier this month, the Mountain West withheld more than $6.6 million it owed SDSU as the first part of that exit fee payment.
The Mountain West held a board of directors meeting Monday to discuss the matter, though SDSU was not invited. The $6.6 million payment was returned Tuesday.
San Diego State never got an offer to join another conference. The Pac-12 (STILL!) doesn’t have a new media rights agreement and the Big 12 is likely waiting to pounce on schools like Colorado, Arizona, and Arizona State before San Diego State. Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark said earlier this month that the conference was focused on “value creation” when it came to future expansion. Yormark also said that the conference wanted a team in “all four time zones,” seemingly opening the door for San Diego State to join.
The door isn’t completely closed on San Diego State leaving the Mountain West. ESPN noted that the potential exit fee for the school is $34 million for the next two years before eventually dropping. The Mountain West’s current media rights deals with CBS and Fox run through the 2025-26 season.
While the value of the conference’s next deal likely won’t come close to what the Big 12 is getting from ESPN and Fox in its new deal (an estimated value of around $32 million per school per season), an improved offer from media partners could keep the Mountain West together in the future.