SALT LAKE CITY — Fresno State and Nevada are leaving the Western Athletic Conference for the Mountain West.
The schools ended a wild Wednesday by announcing they are accepting invitations to join the Mountain West, which has added three prominent members of WAC in the last two months.
Boise State is already bound for the MWC next year and now the Bulldogs and Wolf Pack are following as well, leaving the WAC's future in question and the Mountain West preparing for life after Utah and possibly BYU.
The Cougars are mulling going independent in football and reportedly joining the WAC in all other sports, but have not confirmed anything and may need another look before making anything official. At this rate, there might not be much of a WAC left to join.
The Mountain West is covered either way after inviting Fresno State and Nevada to join the league Wednesday morning and both schools accepting before the day was over.
"I think people have been waiting a long time for this day. We think it is really a game-changer for us," Nevada president Milt Glick said. "This is a momentous day for the University of Nevada."
Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said the expansion invitations weren't a pre-emptive strike if BYU does decide to leave the conference.
But by adding Nevada and Fresno State, the Mountain West is clearly in a stronger position in future negotiations with the Cougars. And Thompson said the latest expansion will enhance the league's television markets and increase its chances of earning an automatic bid to the Bowl Championship Series, something the MWC has been pushing for.
"We're simply looking at getting better and we got better tonight with Fresno State and Nevada joining our league," Thompson said in a conference call Wednesday night.