Utes wait for Pac 10 move, but are prepared to act if call comes
The waiting game for the University of Utah and its followers for an invitation to the Pac-10 continued Tuesday with few developments.
Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott, who spent most of the weekend courting Big 12 teams, was holed up at the conference office in meetings.
Meanwhile, MWC commissioner Craig Thompson, who was attending commissioner meetings in northern California, told the Associated Press that Utah athletic director Chris Hill told him he had not been contacted by the Pac-10 since Monday's announcement that the Big 12 schools were remaining in that conference.
Hill is not commenting to the news media on expansion developments.
Several sources have said Utah is the only serious candidate that the Pac-10 has discussed adding if it is to expand to 12 teams, the number needed for the league to hold a conference championship game.
If an invitation is extended, Randy Dryer, the chairman of Utah's Board of Trustees, said the trustees would convene a special meeting on short notice to discuss the proposal.
State law requires 24 hours notice, but there is a provision for shorter notice if there's an emergency.
A move to the Pac-10 would not require approval by the state Board of Regents, he said.
"Things are happening fast, there's no done deals, but in the event that something does happen involving the university, we would have to have a special meeting on short notice," he said.
"No meeting has been scheduled for the board to act on anything related to conference realignment or membership. We are monitoring the situation and we'll be prepared to meet if there's a reason to meet. Right now things are still in flux so we haven't scheduled any meeting for that purpose."
While Colorado might have to pay the Big 12 about $9 million as part of a buyout clause, no such penalty exists for Utah to leave the MWC.
All the MWC requires of the Utes is that they inform the league by Sept. 1 that they are departing.
Thompson said last week the league only is interested in teams that want to be in the league and therefore doesn't see the need for a buyout clause.
"If you don't want to be a member, why would we force someone's hand or be an impediment," he said. "You want to be a part of this or you don't."
The thought of losing Utah didn't make Thompson happy when the topic arose last week, but he said his league would survive.
"Utah has been a tremendous member and voice in the face of the BCS," he said. "We'd hate to lose those BCS numbers and it's a tremendous school academically. It's one of the faces of the MWC. But could we survive? Yes, but we'd hate to have to."