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Big West Expected To Break Up

July 26, 1999

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ The Big West Conference is expected to announce its breakup as early as this week, which would leave five of its 12 schools looking for a new league.

The two-division conference would become a one-division league that includes only California schools that do not play football, according to New Mexico State president William Conroy.

``The California schools have indicated they’re interested in going off on their own with a California conference. They might add a few other California schools,″ Conroy said.

The six schools that would remain in the league currently make up the conference’s Western Division. It includes UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Pacific.

That would leave New Mexico State, Idaho, Boise State, Utah State and North Texas _ the conference’s Eastern Division teams along with Nevada _ looking for another league.

The breakup came about following the realignment of the Western Athletic Conference. The WAC announced last month that Nevada would be leaving the Big West and joining the conference next summer.

``Nevada’s departure has put the Big West schools in a difficult situation,″ Conroy said after meeting with the presidents of Big West schools in Salt Lake City. ``It’s hard to tell how all these conferences are going to end up two years from now.″

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