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Mountain West commissioner prioritizes football when considering member schools

Wichita State has played several Mountain West schools in recent seasons, including UNLV in 2015 at Koch Arena, San Diego State and Air Force.
Wichita State has played several Mountain West schools in recent seasons, including UNLV in 2015 at Koch Arena, San Diego State and Air Force. The Wichita Eagle

Brent Briggeman of the Colorado Springs Gazette exposed the insecurities of Wichita State and its desire for a new conference in an interview with Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson.

“I don’t imagine the highest candidacy being a program that doesn’t play football,” Thompson said at Mountain West Media Days. Wichita State hasn’t played football since 1986, though it did recently launch a feasibility study to consider bringing it back.

While Wichita State as the 12th basketball-playing MWC member may make sense from a Wichita perspective, Thompson doesn’t sound at all convinced. To recap, Thompson made it clear that football leads and basketball success isn’t worth much currency, especially if it’s seen largely as the work of one coach. WSU, of course, made it known last winter that it was evaluating its membership in the Missouri Valley Conference.

The MWC’s position shouldn’t be a surprise. American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco sounded a similar stance in the spring when asked about expansion.

Paul Suellentrop: 316-269-6760, @paulsuellentrop

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