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Hawaii Football to join Mountain West in 2012

The Mountain West will be expanding once again in 2012.  As expected the Mountain West will be adding the University of Hawai'i for football only with their remaining sports heading to the Big West.

Dec, 10, 2010

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - "The Mountain West Conference is very pleased to gain the University of Hawai`i as a Football-only member beginning with the 2012 season," said MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson.

"Hawai`i's outstanding football program and television value fit perfectly with the MWC's strategic initiatives for the future direction of the Conference. We look forward to adding the Warriors to the MWC family."

This would put the Mountain West at 10 teams in 2012 after TCU departs for the Big East and Nevada, Fresno State and Hawai'i all join.  Utah and BYU are leaving the Mountain West in 2011 while Boise State joins.  So what does all this news mean?  Well ESPN who runs the Hawaii Bowl is in talks with the Mountain West to create a conference affilliation.  If the Warriors are bowl eligible they are the defacto WAC team to play in the Hawaii Bowl so it would make sense for the same to occur with the MWC

With ten teams it can create tougher scheduling for schools like Air Force who must play Army and Navy each year.  With nine conference games it would leave just one open game each year for the Falcons.  If the Mountain West were to add two teams to reach 12 they could host a conference championship game and bring in more revenue.  There are indications that UTEP and Utah State could be added in just a couple weeks.  Adding these two schools would let the Mountain West keep a presence in Texas and Utah.

What about the TV contract for the MWC?  At the presser they said it could take up to six months to figure about broadcast revenue and expansion.  The Mtn. is not currently carried in Hawaii except for DirectTV.  If your're curious about how much TV money the islands bring with them then listen to San Diego State President Stephen Weber.

In Hawaii’s case, Weber said Hawaii brings $2.2 million TV revenue that now will be added to the MWC revenue-sharing pot. To offset travel costs, Sterk said Hawaii would pay $150,000 to $175,000 per trip to teams that play there.  

That same article mentions expansion by the Mountain West but puts the timetable further out towards January when the school presidents are scheduled to meet again.  The big bonus to playing Hawaii is that any team that travels the islands will have the option to play a 13th game which will more than cover the extra cost of travel. 

Wyoming had a great rivalry with the Warriors when both schools were members of the WAC.  There was even a traveling Paniolo trophy that can be used again.  Wyoming has held the trophy since winning the last meeting in 1997.