FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Retiring University of New Mexico President David Schmidly made the road trip with the Lobos here Tuesday and spent part of his day talking to Colorado State officials about plans for the new Mountain West Conference-Conference USA realignment.
Last week, both conferences announced they will dissolve after the 2012-13 school year and form a new league.
“We talked about TV contracts and the future,” Schmidly said. “It’s our best move right now, and it will at least, I hope, give us some stability.”
Schmidly said the teams — which will number at least 16 and could grow to as many as 24 — will still play, basically, the same teams they face now.
“We’re not going to have that situation where we have to travel from Albuquerque to East Carolina to play football,” he told the Journal. “The current Mountain (West) will probably be the west division of the new league. It hasn’t been decided yet, but there’s a good chance that UTEP will slide over to the Mountain because it’s in the geographic region and it has a long history with the teams in the Mountain.”
Schmidly said there will be a football playoff, probably at a neutral site, but that there is still much to be decided about the basketball tournament.
He said TV contract talks are going well, and “there appears to be a lot of interest in the new league.” He said the primary negotiations are with NBC, CBS and Fox, but they may also make a pitch to ESPN.
Schmidly says he thinks the deals will be finished by the time he retires at the end of May. In the meantime, he says he’s having a great time following the Lobos, and will be at the MWC tournament in two weeks in Las Vegas, Nev., and will attend any NCAA Tournament games involving the Lobos.
“These kids and this team mean a lot to me,” he said. “I helped (coach) Steve (Alford) recruit them all, and I’m very proud of them. They’re good players and good students. I’m proud of Steve and all the coaches, and I’ve had a blast with Lobo basketball.”
— This article appeared on page D4 of the Albuquerque Journal