To understand the triumph of the football Warriors joining the Mountain West, go back to 1998. As one UH official said: The Mountain West was created to get away from UH.
Now, the Mountain West realizes what it should have known then: The Warriors bring a lot to the table. Even Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada — all of whom supported the invitation — realize that.
From a population of about 1.5 million, UH’s pay-per-view and television contract generates about $4.5 million annually, of which UH’s share is $2.5 million. That’s potential revenue that now can be shared with the Mountain West. Boise, Fresno and Reno don’t bring added television assets; and if Boise State doesn’t get into a BCS game, it doesn’t bring anything at all. Boise basketball? Sure, as good as Boise surfing. Broncos don’t even have a baseball team.
The Warriors also will be ponying up travel subsidies, an act so generous that, out of embarrassment, it has been dubbed “cost sharing.” The San Diego State AD estimated that it could amount to $150,000 to $175,000 per trip to the islands. A Mountain West team actually could pay more to go to Boise, Reno or Fresno than to travel to Hawaii.
The thing is, all of this could have been the Mountain West’s in 1999, the league’s inaugural season. But by forming the league in a hush-hush meeting at the Denver International Airport — by the way, try getting past TSA now — none of the schemers bothered to ask UH if it would contribute to, uh, cost sharing. UH had once done that in a modified form to WAC visitors, and it surely would have agreed to it back then.
How does that song go? Sometimes the one thing you’re looking for is the only thing you can’t see.
* * * * * *
As I understand it, the Mountain West football teams travel by charter to games. Shouldn’t this open up the possibility that, maybe, UH should travel by charter, too? Sure beats hanging out in Ogden for seven hours, flying to Vegas, then scampering a mile to the next terminal because Southwest and Hawaiian don’t share the same gates.
* * * * * *