On the mind of many San Jose State fans is the future conference affiliation for the Spartans sports teams. With the recent shuffles, including the moves by Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada, and Hawaii to other conferences, SJSU has been mentioned for possible inclusion into a 32-team mega conference consisting of teams from the Big East, Mountain West, and Conference USA.
"We're definitely in the conversation," athletic director Tom Bowen told Inside Sparta. "A lot depends on what happens with the Big East. If it happens it would be for football-only and we'll find other options for the other sports."
The incentive for SJSU to join this deal is the possibility of being a part of a conference with an automatic berth in the Bowl Championship Series and the competitive and financial benefits of such membership.
According to the Boston Globe there is a 28-team league that doesn't include San Jose State. Bowen would not comment on SJSU's options regarding joining another conference, if the 32-team option is not available.
While the Big West is the logical choice for the non-football sports, Bowen added that nothing has been decided and that those things will flush out once the football situation is decided.
The San Jose Mercury News claims sources are skeptical that the Big East would be interested in joining with the MWC and CUSA, or that the television networks would offer a large enough rights-fee for such a setup.
Conference realignment isn't the only news, there may also soon be football scheduling news.
"There are some exciting matchups but I'm not ready to announce it now," Bowen said. "It's possible I can make it public by mid-November."
While most California State University campuses are looking for ways to cut costs by cutting programs, SJSU is in the black, financially, and looking to add another varsity sport.
"We've been balanced (financially) for six years," Bowen said. "The CSU cuts are done. We're looking to add Women's Lacrosse."
In order to pad the athletic department budget when the crunch began, San Jose State dropped games with Stanford and Arizona State to take mega-paydays at Alabama and Wisconsin. Those games put almost $2 million into the SJSU coffers. However, the days of sacrificing the football teams record are over for the time being.
"We keep getting offered to play money games," Bowen said. "We don't need to do that any longer and I'm telling them 'no'."
While much of the buzz surrounding SJSU sports is focused on the football team winning three of their last four games, including an exciting last-minute victory over Hawaii on ESPN, Bowen is quick to point out that football is not the only sport having success.
"We need our fans to support all of these student athletes who are out there working hard and performing," he said. "Women's soccer qualified for the WAC tournament and (other sports) are having great seasons."
Don Hoekwater is the Publisher of Inside Sparta. You are welcome to contact Don with any questions or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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