By Rhett Wilkinson
Utah State athletic director Scott Barnes said Saturday that an announcement of a new conference alignment with the Mountain West Conference could come within “weeks.” The disclosure of information came after Barnes showed an aerial view of a new-look Spectrum basketball court during the conference that unveiled USU’s new logos. Then came the startler. “We hope to get that conference logo changed soon,” Barnes said, in reference to the WAC logo found within each key of the court.
Several minutes passed by without anyone in the packed Stan Laub complex conference room addressing Barnes’ statement. However, when the floor was opened for questions, a fan quickly raised his hand. “What do you mean about changing the WAC logo?” he asked. That’s when the surprise came out of Barnes’ mouth. “On the question of conference alignment, we continue to make progress,” he said. “This answer is not months away, it’s weeks away.” A reporter then questioned Barnes to explain his comment further. “We’ll get back to you later,” Barnes said.
Shortly after the announcement, tweets began blazing about the issue of whether USU will now join the Mountain West Conference, especially in light of UT-San Antonio’s decision to join Conference USA. UT-San Antonio had been scheduled to start playing football in the WAC this fall.
Hours later, after the Blue-White football scrimmage, Barnes clarified his statement, saying that an announcement on new conference alignment depends on the Mountain West Conference’s decision whether or not to invite the university.
“One of the things I mentioned (at the conference) I want to re-iterate,” Barnes said. “Any decision by the Mountain West isn’t months away. It’s weeks away.” Barnes then thanked the media before walking away. When asked if he could answer any further questions, Barnes made just one more statement. “Nope, I’m getting out of here,” he said with a laugh.