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Mountain West Commissioner Steps Down After CFP Expansion

  • After 24 years, Craig Thompson will give up his seat in December.
  • He said the last thing he wanted to accomplish was college football playoff expansion.
Jon Austria/The Coloradoan

Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson announced on Thursday he’ll step down in December after more than two decades with the conference.

In a statement, Thompson said he wanted to stay on until a College Football Playoff expansion plan was finalized — and that Mountain West teams had more opportunities.

“With College Football Playoff expansion accomplished … the time is now right for me to conclude my tenure,” he said.

Thompson was one of the main college sports executives behind the expansion plan, working as part of a four-person committee tasked with researching ideas. 

In 2021, the group presented multiple models, including a 12-team model. But bad blood between commissioners, much of which was related to conference realignment, had stalled the effort.

Now, Thompson leaves a College Football Playoff with 12 teams, a guarantee that Group of 5 schools will be represented, and the potential to garner $2.2 billion in total media rights fees alone. 

Thompson is the conference’s only commissioner since its inception a few decades ago, but now joins a growing list of FBS commissioners who have left their positions in recent years. 

The Mountain West did not formally announce plans for a successor.

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