UNLV and UNR will have to wait an extra year to become conference mates. Nevada-Reno and Fresno State have reached an agreement with the Western Athletic Conference that means they will not leave for the Mountain West Conference until the 2012-13 school year.
The schools accepted invitations to join the MWC in August and hoped to move to the league for the 2011-12 year, but the WAC sued, citing conference bylaws as stating that neither could terminate its membership until June 30, 2012.
According to a statement from the WAC, Fresno State and UNR will each pay the league $900,000 to depart. The WAC initially demanded the schools pay $5 million each to leave next year, claiming the conference had not received notice before the July 1 deadline.
Fresno State has been a member of the WAC since 1992 and Nevada-Reno has competed in the conference since 2000.
The Mountain West officially invited the two schools to join its conference the same day that BYU announced it’s leaving to become an independent in football and a member of the WAC in all other sports. Utah is also leaving the MWC to join the Pac-10 next season.
Boise State is leaving the WAC to join the Mountain West as well, a move that takes effect next season because the school informed the WAC of its intention in June — prior to the July deadline.
When Nevada joins the Mountain West, it will mark the first time UNLV and UNR have been in the same conference since 1995, when both were in the Big West.