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MWC board does not extend Boise State invite

Boise State coach Chris Petersen said that preparations for the 2010 season will continue as normal for his football program.
Boise State coach Chris Petersen said that preparations for the 2010 season will continue as normal for his football program.
Christian Petersen, Getty Images

Mountain West Conference expansion is on hold, for now.

The league's board of directors concluded two days of meetings at the Wort Hotel in Jackson, Wyo., by opting not to extend an invitation to Boise State University at this time. Monday's decision will keep MWC membership at nine (Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, TCU, UNLV, Utah and Wyoming).

However, the door is still open.

"Given the uncertainty in the intercollegiate landscape and the potential for significant shifts in the immediate future, the board did not make a decision to expand at the present time," conference commissioner Craig Thompson said in a released statement. "The MWC will continue to monitor developments and conduct its due diligence to prepare for potential scenarios. Our membership is pleased with the strength of the Mountain West and looks forward to continued growth and development."

Mounting speculation had Boise State receiving and accepting an invitation to join the MWC. The Broncos, reportedly, were slated to switch from the Western Athletic Conference in 2011.

Contacted Monday evening in Jackson, University of Utah president Michael Young said he agreed with the comments made by Thompson and said he couldn't add many details of what was discussed.

"There's a lot of uncertainty right now," he said, "and our view is not to change the membership at this time."

Young acknowledged that the recent developments with the Pac-10 reportedly pursuing Texas and other Big 12 schools, was a factor in the decision not to expand the conference.

"I won't go beyond saying that everything's in flux," he said. "There are a lot of balls up in the air and our view right now is don't open or shut the door on anything."

Recent reports involving potential expansion in several other conferences has produced more questions than answers.

"The Mountain West Conference's decision not to expand is understandable at this time of uncertainty in intercollegiate athletics. Boise State University remains an attractive school for its academics and athletics. Any future conference affiliation should support the long-term vision of the university," said Boise State president Bob Kustra. "The most appropriate action at this juncture is to wait and see how the variables unfold. The opportunity has not been lost. Boise State will continue to grow, develop and excel as one of the premier institutions in the West, competing and partnering with the Western Athletic Conference schools to strengthen and enhance the WAC."

Boise State football coach Chris Petersen said the Broncos are determined to continue what they've been doing.

"This does not change anything that we have been working on in regards to football. Since the end of last season our players and coaches have been preparing hard for the upcoming season. That is where our total focus is and will continue to be," he explained. "We have a very challenging non-conference and conference schedule ahead of us and we are not planning to change our goals because of today's decision. The WAC has, and will continue to be a very strong platform to advance Bronco football. We look forward to another demanding and exciting season in 2010."

Young also said he and his fellow presidents could revisit the expansion at any time, either in person or by phone.

"We could do it tomorrow," he said. "But we don't have any timetable."

As for his own view of what the Mountain West Conference should do, Young preferred not to talk about it.

Young said some of the presidents had already left for home, but that he was going to stay in Jackson for another day and enjoy the scenery and do some fishing.

Contributing: Mike Sorensen

e-mail: dirk@desnews.com