San Diego State University has been in the midst of a whirlwind of conference realignment rumors and speculation for the past few months. The Aztecs were once considered to be the Pac-12’s top expansion target, but those plans have been put on hold indefinitely.
The university athletic department sent a letter to the Mountain West Conference in the middle of June, conveying its intention to exit the league. The letter also requested the conference to grant the school an extension of the exit deadline to avoid extra fees.
However, San Diego State made a surprising turnaround by choosing to remain in the Mountain West Conference. The university reaffirmed its commitment to the conference mere hours before the deadline, which mandated a one-year notice for any changes.
The university anticipated receiving an invitation to join the Pac-12. However, its hopes were dashed as the conference encountered difficulties in securing a new media agreement, leading the university to decide to stay in the MWC.
The Aztecs and Mountain West at odds
The decision to return has resulted in friction between the San Diego State and the Mountain West Conference. While the university asserts it never officially left but only made its intentions known, the conference believes the school has taken the exit door.
The conference has already withheld a distribution fee of $6.6 million from the 2022 season as part of the exit fee. SDSU officials are also being prevented from attending conference meetings by the conference authorities until further decisions are made.
According to a letter from MWC commissioner Gloria Nevarez, the league maintains that the Aztecs program provided formal notice of its departure, which is why the league is requesting the payment of the nearly $17 million exit fee.
The university and the conference have engaged in intense back-and-forth correspondence, with each party maintaining contradictory positions. As a result, the involvement of legal teams has become an integral aspect of the situation.
Will San Diego State be re-accepted to the MWC?
With the conference now viewing San Diego State as an outsider, there’s a need to decide the fate of the university. While many analysts believe the Aztecs will be accepted back to the Mountain West, that won’t happen without a sanction.
The MWC will convene on July 17 to deliberate the eligibility of the Aztecs program to remain a member of the conference. The officials of SDSU will be absent from this meeting as part of the restriction.
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