Bronco Beat

MW commissioner on June Jones' spring football idea: 'It's preposterous'

LAS VEGAS — SMU football coach June Jones caused a stir recently when he suggested the five non-power conferences, including the Mountain West, move their football seasons to the spring. That would allow them to avoid direct competition with the power conferences and possibly get better TV deals, Jones said.

Some national media members even suggested Jones was right.

Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson called the idea “preposterous” on Tuesday at the Mountain West football media preview.

“That was crazy. It’s preposterous,” he said. “Everything traditional is fall in football and the recruiting calendar changes — when are you going to watch the kids? And why in the world — the biggest, richest, 90 percent of NCAA revenue is the men’s basketball tournament. Why would we play up against that? I mean, that is just ludicrous.”

Other notes from Thompson on Tuesday:

— “We’re probably going to spend as much time in the courts as on the court in the next three to five years. We’ve got, I think, seven active lawsuits that revolve around the value of a scholarship. The Mountain West is named in two. I’m told we’ll be named in a third, but we haven’t been served. It’s a brave, new world that college athletics is going to have to address.”

— He said the Mountain West may be scheduling too strong in football. Two power-conference schools on one schedule is enough, he said.

— On college sports: “Big change is coming. I hope it doesn’t mean a cutting of a lot of Olympic sports. It’s a scary time because resources are finite.”

— Thompson expects individual schools in the Mountain West to be able to make their own decisions about whether to pay for things like cost-of-attendance scholarships.

— Thompson does not know what specific factors the selection committee will use to determine which champion from the five non-power conferences will get into a playoff bowl. “But by the fact that you have 13 people focusing in and breaking it down, I think that really is to our advantage,” he said. “ I think these 13 people are going to live, die and breathe college football and are going to know every nuance of every team.”

— The increased meals for athletes begin Aug. 1 but the Mountain West still does not have a straight answer for what that means, what schools will actually do or how much it will cost.

Email me at ccripe@idahostatesman.com.

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