Four schools being pursued by the American Athletic Conference have decided to remain in the Mountain West, two people with knowledge of the matter told USA TODAY Sports. Those people spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
In the wake of departures by UCF, Cincinnati and Houston to the Big 12, AAC commissioner Mike Aresco had hoped to form a Western wing of his league by adding Boise State, San Diego State, Air Force and Colorado State.
Of the four, Air Force was the most aggressively interested in making a move. But without Boise State on board, it was unclear whether the AAC would offer a significant financial upgrade for any of those schools - particularly if they were going to be geographic outliers.
Ultimately, the MWC staying in tact means it can remain competitive with the AAC as the top league outside the power conferences.
The AAC, which will be down to eight football members after the Big 12 departures, now must reconsider its expansion strategy. UAB, Charlotte, North Texas and UTSA could be among the top candidates.
Aresco issued a statement Friday saying the AAC had not offered membership to any schools and that its process for considering expansion candidates was ongoing.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mountain West stays in tact, won't lose four schools to AAC