Could Memphis' move to the Big East mean UTEP will remain in the Conference USA division of what's to be a C-USA merger with the Mountain West?
By all reports, a merger in all sports, was a done deal. But with Memphis gone, Conference USA now has eight teams, and so does the Mountain West. If UTEP goes to the MWC division, there's no longer a balance.
A UTEP shift would leave seven schools on C-USA side: East Carolina, Marshall, Rice, Southern Mississippi, Tulane, Tulsa and UAB.
UTEP going to the MWC side would make nine: UTEP, Air Force, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii (football only), New Mexico, Nevada, UNLV and Wyoming.
One note: UTEP Athletic Director Bob Stull, although seldom (OK, never) slipping up and leaking news, has often said there is no shortage of schools that would love to join Conference USA. Is the holdup on announcing the merger because C-USA is looking at another school over there in its Eastern or Central Time Zone?
Another note: It sounds like a no-brainer to just keep UTEP in C-USA. But UTEP, with the loss of SMU and Houston to the Big East, is now so much of an outpost (Rice is now closest at 800 miles), it would be financially prudent (travel expenses) to hande UTEP to the MWC.