Thursday September 28, 2023

SDSU Staying In Mountain West (For Now) As Pac-12 Tries To Regroup

  • Agreement between college, conference follows month of escalating tension
  • Commissioner says Mountain West is 'better' with Aztecs still in the fold
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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A 2023 Final Four Cinderella story will remain in the Mountain West Conference after a flirtation with the Pac-12 Conference that grew contentious — but the saga has left scars for all involved.

The San Diego State University Aztecs completed a deal to remain in the Mountain West, a conditional agreement that will see the school pay the conference’s legal fees from a month-long legal dispute over a potential exit. San Diego State will receive a $6.6 million conference distribution previously withheld as an exit-fee installment.

The Aztecs will also be on the hook for an estimated $34 million exit fee if they leave the Mountain West within the next two years, a figure the school has acknowledged it cannot afford — essentially an admission that a Pac-12 invitation is perhaps not as imminent as previously thought.

“We’ve landed in a very, very good spot,” said Mountain West commissioner Gloria Nevarez. “We are better with San Diego State in the league.”

Pac-12 Media Slowdown

Meanwhile, the Pac-12 isn’t expected to announce its long-awaited media rights deal during its football media day scheduled for Friday. The conference is facing numerous issues as it looks to complete the agreement, including the 2024 departure of USC and UCLA for the Big Ten, concerns about similar exits by some remaining members, and the cost-cutting at many media organizations that could impair its ability to achieve desired economic goals.

Instead, a new rights deal is anticipated in the “near future,” with a mix of linear and streaming partners.

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