SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — After mulling the possibility of leaving the Mountain West, San Diego State has reversed course and informed the conference it intends to stay — at least for now.
Jamie McConeghy, SDSU's senior athletic director of communications and media relations, confirmed to ABC 10News that the university sent a letter telling the Mountain West it is not resigning.
As first reported by ESPN and The Athletic on June 16, the Aztecs had notified the MWC that it intended to leave after the 2023-2024 school year and wished to renegotiate the departure terms.
Big announcement from @GoAztecs. In a statement to ABC @10News a spokesperson says they have sent a letter to the Mountain West saying SDSU will remain in the conference. They are still monitoring conference realignment, but are staying put for now.— Jeff Lasky (@10NewsLasky) June 30, 2023
At the crux of that deadline was the fee to leave the conference; both outlets had reported that if the Aztecs decided to leave the Mountain West after June 30, the exit fee would've doubled from about $16.5 million to around $34 million.
McConeghy's email to the 10News team said SDSU Athletic Director J.D. Wicker's statement from two weeks ago still stands:
“As there has been a large amount of discussion about conference realignment nationally, we continue to do our due diligence to identify the best opportunity and fit in the interest of both our university and our student-athletes.”
Rumors and speculation over the years had pointed to the Pac-12 as a likely landing place for the Aztecs; however, the Pac-12 is not expected to invite any new members to join until after it reaches a new television deal, a process which has taken much longer than anticipated.
This left San Diego State in a precarious position because it reportedly had expected to already have an invitation to a larger conference by this point, so SDSU faced the unexpected choice of taking the risk of leaving the MWC without an invitation in place or remaining and paying a much larger exit fee.
Choosing to stay gives the program certainty, though it likely delays the possibility of changing conferences for at least another year.
The 2022-23 basketball season was the best in program history for SDSU, as the Aztecs secured an appearance in the national title game after Lamont Butler hit an epic buzzer-beater against Florida Atlantic in the Final Four.
Additionally, Aztec football's 2022 season was the first played in its newly constructed, $310 million Snapdragon Stadium.
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