Schools being kicked out of conferences is very rare, but there is precedent for it. One columnist argued that the Mountain West should consider doing that with San Jose State.
As he writers, a one-off loss to an FCS school is not out of the ordinary, especially for Group of Five schools. We’ve seen programs as big as Florida and Michigan fall to programs like that, albeit, usually ones better than the Aggies.
San Jose State has struggled to be competitive in any major sport since joining the Mountain West, however. Murray thinks it is time for the conference to evaluate the Spartans’ place in the league.
San Jose State football, men’s and women’s basketball, and baseball programs have all struggled mightily since the team joined the Mountain West.
SJSU was one of the many programs hurt by recent conference realignment, which led to the dissolution of the WAC football league. The MWC added the program, along with Utah State, in 2013.
Murray drilled down on the records of those four key Spartans programs, and it is very ugly.
* IF YOU COMBINE THE WIN-LOSS record of those four marquee sports – other sports matter, but if we’re being real these are the four that truly matter – SJSU is 226-487-1 overall and 122-274-1 in the MW. That’s a 31.6 winning percent overall and an even worse 30.7 winning percent in the MW. And it’s not like one sport is dragging down those numbers. None of these four teams have an overall winning mark higher than 37 percent since moving from the WAC to the MW five years ago.
* BUT THIS MIGHT BE THE MOST eye-opening stat of them all (so eye-opening I double-checked a few times to make sure I had it right). Since joining the MW, SJSU’s football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and baseball teams have failed to post even one season with a winning record. Not one! The closest football got was 6-6 in 2013. The closest men’s basketball got was 14-16 in 2016-17. The closest women’s basketball got was 15-17 in 2014-15. And the closest baseball got was 27-30 in 2018. It takes time to adjust to a new conference when making a jump in competition. Nevada is proof of that. But there’s a problem if you can’t post a single winning record in the key sports in five years.
He supported UTSA over SJSU when the MWC expanded before, and there have been rumors that the Mountain West could take on new schools in the coming years. Gonzaga flirted with the MWC as a basketball-only school for a few weeks this spring, before electing to stay put in the West Coast Conference.
There is no indication that the league is anywhere near ditching SJSU. As I alluded to before, there is recent precedent though.
Idaho and New Mexico State were kicked to the curb by the Sun Belt a few years ago. Idaho recently dropped down to FCS as a result, while New Mexico State is trying to make it work as an FBS independent. Years earlier, the Big East kicked out Temple, long before the Owls’ recent resurgence in football.
Hopefully the Spartans can get it together soon. The football program won 11 games back in 2012, a year before the MWC move, but that looks more and more like a blip than something sustainable. Brent Brennan is only in his second year, but it is unclear how long he’ll have to prove that wrong.