San Diego State tells Mountain West to take a hike amid Pac-12 rumors

San Diego State has informed the Mountain West that it intends to resign from the conference.

As it turns out, conference realignment is not over, as San Diego State may leave the Mountain West after this season.

ESPN’s Pete Thamel broke this bombshell on Friday afternoon in somewhat of a news dump. Basically, the Aztecs have informed the Mountain West that they intend to leave the conference next June. They need a year’s notice to leave their current conference. San Diego State has been most closely tied to possibly joining the Pac-12 as a replacement for USC and UCLA come 2024.

Keep in mind that San Diego State has yet to receive an invitation from the Pac-12, as the league is trying to figure out its new media rights deal with the Trojans and Bruins leaving for the Big Ten.

San Diego State would keep Southern California in the Pac-12 media footprint. Adding the Aztecs would give the league another major media market, as well as a strong history in the athletics department on the Group of Five level. Keep in mind SDSU just played for a national title in hoops.

San Diego State potentially leaving Mountain West without a deal to join Pac-12

This is way more complicated than you could possibly imagine. According to university president Adela de la Torre, this is not an official notice of resignation. The letter that was sent out on June 13 was all about playing hardball and trying to figure out what is best for San Diego State athletics. It was a request for a month’s extension from the Mountain West to figure things out.

See, if San Diego State doesn’t inform the Mountain West what its intentions are by the end of the month, the Aztecs’ exit fee will skyrocket from $16.5 million to a whopping $34 million. Surely, some Pac-12 money, or even some Big 12 money, for all we know, could help with that, but why pay a stiffer penalty when you don’t have to? Oh, this is going to get so messy, and it will be lovely!

Obviously, there is so much to unpack here, but I think this is what it is really all about. The Pac-12 will want to bring San Diego State into the fold, not just for athletic prowess and media market implications, but to also prevent somebody else besides the Big Ten from poaching in on the territory that used to define their league. Of course, if you add San Diego State, you add another…

I think that is where it is getting complicated. Who will join San Diego State as new full-fledged members of the new Pac-12 Conference in 2024? The other team most closely tied to the Pac-12 has been SMU out of The American. That would be a savvy pick-up for media market and athletics reasons. SMU is a private school in Dallas. We have seen area rival TCU flourish in the new Big 12.

Ultimately, the Pac-12 has to act swiftly before the Big 12 goes big-game hunting with the likes of the Four Corner universities. Colorado used to play in their league. Utah’s biggest rival BYU is coming aboard in 2023. As far as the Arizona schools are concerned, there are a ton of people who live in The Valley and Tucson. They would also improve what is already a strong basketball league.

For now, the next big domino to watch fall in the latest wave of realignment is San Diego State.

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