SALT LAKE CITY — Four days earlier, after he and his fellow presidents decided not extend an invitation to Boise State University to join the Mountain West Conference, University of Utah president Michael Young said it still could happen any time.

Turns out it was just days later, as Boise State was extended a formal invitation to join the MWC on Friday morning.

According to Young, the MWC presidents liked Boise State all along and were waiting to see what happened in a couple of other conferences before making a decision. He said when they met on Monday, the other conference expansions "was all talk."

But after Colorado accepted an invitation to the Pac-10 on Thursday, and with Nebraska's announcement Friday that it was going to the Big Ten, the time was right for the MWC presidents to act.

"We were trying to figure out what balls were being juggled in the air and what we might most rationally do with respect to those," Young said. "We had seen those movements, and we were waiting to see if any of that was likely to happen or not happen and to see to what degree that would form our decisions.

"It kind of shook out in a way that it seemed, to the presidents, like a good time to strengthen the conference with a really strong football program, and that's what we did."

So what was it about Boise State that made the school attractive to the presidents of the Mountain West Conference?

"It has a very strong football program and has some other good athletic teams. It's rising in its academic aspirations, it's in a rapidly growing area, and it fits with us geographically. All those things together seemed to make this a logical move," Young said.

Depending on what happens in the coming days in regards to possible expansion of the Pac-10, Big Ten or Southeastern Conference, the MWC could expand its league even further.

"I've been in this league six years, and (expanded) membership has never been off the table," he said. "As more things happen around the country, that may give us the occasion for more action on our part to make the conference more active, strong and vibrant."

Young said other conferences were making presentations to Texas, Texas A&M and Missouri and also mentioned Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Baylor as schools that might not be going anywhere.

"They're not talking about leaving, as far as I know, and they're really terrific schools," Young said.

There have been rumors for weeks that Utah might be invited to the Pac-10 with Colorado, and now that Colorado has received that invitation, the talk is still prevalent. On that subject, Young was less forthcoming.

"We have not had any official contact from the Pac-10," he said. "It's really up to the presidents of the Pac-10 to decide how to best structure their conference."

On the possibility of the Mountain West perhaps jettisoning a couple of weaker schools to make the league stronger, Young said that hasn't been discussed.

"In all the time I've been here, it's never come up," he said, "so I really don't know."

Young did say that things will continue to change in regards to conference realignment.

"I don't think anybody will know until next week to see if the Big 12 stays intact or changes its composition," Young said, "and we'll wait and see what the landscape looks like at that point."

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