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Here's how a more realistic conference promotion/relegation system may look:

Before the MWC and Pac-2 floated the idea...consider WCC Baseball

Good morning, and thanks for your continued support of Extra Points.

Earlier this month, Yahoo! sports reported that the Pac-2 and Mountain West were discussing a unique conference realignment solution…one based on promotion and relegation. Just like with European soccer, every year, a few teams would change leagues, based on performance. The worst teams in league A would move to league B, and the best teams in league B would move to league A.

Since then, Front Office Sports and others have reported on a proposal from a Boise State administrator that would create promotion and relegation opportunities for 24 programs across three different time zones. Buried in email threads, text message, and consultant powerpoints, there are likely other proposals out there too.

On paper, it’s easy to see the appeal. A promotion/relegation system would be far more meritocratic than how conference realignment typically operates, and could create deeply compelling matchups late in the season, even at the bottom of the conference. Such a system could also potentially improve RPI/NET metrics, making it easier for mid-majors to create stronger postseason computer profiles.

But the sheer amount of money tied to football broadcasts, even at the MWC level, makes such ambitious proposals much more challenging. It’s the single biggest reason why promotion and relegation haven’t taken off in American professional sports leagues…ownership doesn’t want to accept the risk that their franchise might lose access to a lucrative TV contract if they suck.

But what if there were promotion proposals that had nothing to do with college football, or even big-time media rights money at all?

Multiple industry sources have told me that actually, officials tied to WCC institutions and conference leadership elsewhere in the mid major world floated a very similar idea, and even communicated it to Mountain West and Big West leadership.

Those summer conversations didn’t materialize into anything tangible, I’m told. But even if it isn’t executed, the plan just might be crazy enough to work.

Why would anybody in the WCC be interested in this plan?

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