An exit agreement made between the Western Athletic Conference and departing members Fresno State and Nevada was finalized today, stating the two schools would not leave for the Mountain West Conference until 2012.
According to several sources and reported by ESPN‘s Andy Katz, the one-year delay will lower the two schools’ exit fees (currently set at $5 million a piece) for failing to inform the WAC of their departure before the July 1 deadline. Fresno State and Nevada announced their decision to leave the WAC for the MWC on Aug. 18.
“We have been in dialogue and discussions the last two weeks,” said WAC commissioner Karl Benson said Tuesday to the Fresno Bee. “Anything else, I cannot comment. Stay tuned.”
The WAC could ill-afford to lose Fresno State, Nevada and Boise State all in one year (Boise departs the WAC after this season). Had this been the case, the conference would have been left with six teams, leaving a scheduling nightmare for Benson and the remaining schools.
With the delay, the Mountain West and the WAC will have eight members for the 2011-12 season. The WAC has been rumored to extend invitations to Montana, Montana State and UT-San Antonio, among other non-football schools.
Details of the negotiation and exit strategy are expected to be released Thursday.