Officials Say Big West Will Stay Together

Athletic directors and chief executive officers from the Big West Conference affirmed during a special meeting Sunday that the conference would stay at least an eight-team league.

Representatives of the eight remaining schools agreed they want to stay together and work together, Commissioner Dennis Farrell said, confirming there won't be a split between the four schools that play football and the four that do not.

The remaining football-playing schools are New Mexico State, Nevada, Utah State and Pacific. Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine, Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara don't have football programs.

Farrell called the meeting to discuss the future of the league after recent invitations to Nevada Las Vegas and San Jose State to join the Western Athletic Conference in 1996.

"We did decide that we would be comfortable with the eight if that's the way it turns out," Farrell said. "We will be looking into expansion, but we'll only expand if we feel it will strengthen the conference . . . We'll be contacting some schools to see what their interest might be in our conference."

Farrell declined to identify the schools that would be contacted, but did say some are California schools and some are not.

Farrell said the Big West executive council of athletic directors and faculty representatives probably would talk about it at a meeting scheduled in two weeks in Palm Springs.

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