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Craig Thompson steps down as Mountain West commissioner

Craig Thompson, commissioner of the Mountain West Conference, talking at a podium.
Mountain West Conference
Craig Thompson will step down as Mountain West Commissioner after 24 Years.

After nearly 24 years of serving as commissioner for the Mountain West Conference, Craig Thompson will be stepping down from his position.

In an announcement made Wednesday, it was revealed that 66-year-old Craig Thompson, the only commissioner the conference has had thus far, will be leaving his position after first beginning in January 1999. Before coming to Mountain West, Thompson was the commissioner for the Sun Belt Conference.

Garnett Stokes, president at New Mexico and chair of the conference board directors, says that the entire Mountain West Conference owes a debt of gratitude to Thompson for his selfless service over the last two-and-a-half decades. Stokes also says that Thompson’s impact has helped position the conference as one of the nation’s elite.

With Thompson as commissioner, Mountain West has participated in five bowl games and he has helped boost the conference’s portfolio by adding Boise State in 2011 after BYU became an independent team and Utah left for the Pac-12. He also helped the league add Fresno State and Nevada in 2012 and then San Jose State and Utah State in 2013.

Keith Whitfield, president of UNLV, also complimented Thompson’s influence by saying his leadership has been important to the conference and that his work made the league stronger in the quickly changing landscape of the NCAA.

In a statement made by Thompson, his final priority will be expansion of the College Football Playoff, a plan that was recently announced where the playoffs will include 12 teams and spawn a multibillion-dollar tournament. This plan could take place as soon as the 2024 season with finalization on the details coming over the next few months.