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Merger likely to end in failure

UNM Athletics has tangled itself in a failed business endeavor.

This February, UNM agreed to a merger between the MWC and Conference USA which would create a conference of at least 16 teams. The merger would be in place starting in the 2013-14 athletic year. reported that dissolving the two leagues in the near future to make one conference was highly unlikely.

And why shouldn’t it be? It seems an impossible task to schedule teams from five different time zones to play each other.

Furthermore, since February the Albuquerque Journal and other media have reported that the schools involved in the potential merger can’t seem to come to an agreement over revenue-generating television rights. Schools are negotiating with networks and each other concerning how much each school would receive.

UNM’s football team’s poor performance the past few seasons puts the school at a disadvantage in negotiations. After three straight 1-11 seasons, UNM has almost nothing to bring to the table compared to schools with better programs.

After Boise State and TCU left the MWC, UNM and its embarrassing football program were left struggling to find a new conference arrangement.

UNM could make money on its athletics, but with University Stadium regularly filled to 20 percent capacity, it wasn’t going to.

With the new coach, football has a bright future and in a few years will once again be a contender. In a few years, UNM may be a school which other programs actually want in their conference.

What it really comes down to is money, and it’s no surprise that’s all that matters in college athletics.

Coaches claim this conference will bring their teams more competition and national recognition, but in reality this merger’s only beneficiaries will be members of university administrations.
In college athletics, money is made in two sports: football and men’s basketball.

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Those two sports hold up all other athletic teams on campus such as soccer, tennis, volleyball, baseball and softball.

Neither the MWC nor Conference USA had an automatic BCS bid, and the merger was made in hopes of getting an one, which would likely guarantee millions of dollars to every school in the conference.

After TCU and Boise State left the MWC, the commissioners knew they had to do something quick before the conference disappeared.
Conference USA faced a similar ordeal. The proposed merger had seemed like a quick fix and some easy money, too.

In the 2012 NCAA Basketball Tournament, every school in the MWC made $242,000 for every team that made the postseason tournament. Out of eight MWC teams, four made it to the tournament, which earned each school $968,000.

Putting together a 16-team superconference would therefore mean more teams in the NCAA tournament and more money for every school.
For UNM, an athletics department that’s $2 million in the hole for this academic year, the merger makes sense from a business standpoint.

The University needs to consider a backup plan in case the joint conference, which can’t seem to get organized, falls through.
All MWC schools should recognize these warning signs and think twice about the merger.

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