2010–13 Western Athletic Conference realignment

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Western Athletic Conference Logo.svg

The 2010–13 Western Athletic Conference realignment refers to the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) dealing with several proposed and actual conference expansion and reduction plans among various NCAA conferences and institutions from 2010 to 2013. Moves involving the WAC were a significant part of a much larger NCAA conference realignment in which it was one of the most impacted conferences. Of the nine members of the WAC in 2010, only two—the University of Idaho and New Mexico State University—remained in the conference beyond the 2012–13 school year, and Idaho will depart for the Big Sky Conference after the 2013–14 school year. Five pre-2010 members are now all-sports members of the Mountain West Conference (MW), and another joined the MW for football only while placing most of its other sports in the Big West Conference. Another pre-2010 member joined Conference USA (C-USA) in July 2013.

After the first defections from the conference were announced in 2010 and 2011, the WAC attempted to reload by bringing in five new members for 2012, but four of these soon announced moves to other conferences that took effect in 2013, with Seattle University being the only 2012 entrant to remain in the WAC beyond the 2012–13 school year. The WAC added six new members in 2013.

These moves resulted in the WAC dropping football as a league-sponsored sport after the 2012 season; it became the first NCAA Division I FBS conference to drop the sport since the Big West did the same after the 2000 season. The only two remaining football schools, Idaho and New Mexico State, became independent programs for the 2013 and will return to football-only membership in the Sun Belt Conference starting in 2014 (both had been either all-sports or football members of the Sun Belt in the early 2000s).

Background[edit]

The WAC was founded in 1962 by six schools in the interior West, five public and one private—the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, Brigham Young University (BYU), the University of New Mexico, the University of Utah, and the University of Wyoming. The creation of the WAC directly led to the demise of the Border Intercollegiate Athletic Association (or Border Conference) and Mountain States Conference (popularly known as the Skyline Eight),[1] and soon led to the creation of the Big Sky Conference in 1963.

The conference added two more schools later in the 1960s, with Colorado State University and the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) arriving in 1967. The WAC's competitive balance, especially in football, became heavily skewed in the 1970s toward the Arizona schools due to rapid growth in that state, and they would leave in 1978 to expand the Pacific-8 Conference into the Pacific-10. San Diego State University joined at the time the two Arizona schools left; the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (Hawaiʻi or UH) joined the following year, and the United States Air Force Academy (Air Force) arrived in 1980. The conference then remained stable for more than a decade, with the next change being the addition of California State University, Fresno (Fresno State) in 1992.

In 1996, the demise of the Southwest Conference (SWC) led to a major conference realignment. The WAC took advantage of the changing landscape to expand to 16 members. Three SWC members left out of the soon-to-launch Big 12 ConferenceRice University, Southern Methodist University (SMU), and Texas Christian University (TCU)—all joined the WAC, as did San Jose State University and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) from the Big West, plus the University of Tulsa, a Division I-A football independent[2] which had been a member of the non-football Missouri Valley Conference.[3] However, CBSSports.com writer Matt Hinton would say in 2012 that the expansion "quickly divided the league between old members and new."[4] The league now spanned from Hawaii to Oklahoma—a distance of about 3,900 miles (6,300 km) and four time zones.[5][6] Originally, the league was divided into four "quads" with four members each, but this setup soon proved unsatisfactory to several members, most notably BYU and Utah, who proposed a permanent split into eight-team divisions in 1998.[3] This proposal created further problems, because the geographic distribution of the 16 members meant that a clean north-south or east-west split was impossible. While New Mexico and UTEP agreed to move to a proposed East Division, Air Force and UNLV were unhappy; Karl Benson, who was WAC commissioner during this period, recalled in 2011 that Air Force threatened to go independent.[3] Soon, the presidents of Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, Utah, and Wyoming, a group that Benson would later call the "Gang of Five", met at Denver International Airport and quickly decided to form a new league.[3] They invited New Mexico, San Diego State, and UNLV to join them to form what would become the Mountain West Conference, which launched in 1999.[3]

After this upheaval, the WAC saw further movement in the 2000s. In 2000, the University of Nevada, Reno (Nevada) joined from the Big West. A year later, the Big West dropped football. While four schools from that conference, all within the WAC's geographic footprint, wanted to continue in football, only Boise State University was invited at that time. Louisiana Tech University, a Division I-A independent and otherwise a member of the Sun Belt Conference, also joined in 2001, while TCU left for C-USA. The WAC saw further membership turnover in 2005. Rice, SMU, Tulsa, and UTEP left for C-USA, while the three former Big West football schools that had been left out of the 2001 expansion—Idaho, New Mexico State, and Utah State University—all joined.

The current wave of realignment began in 2010, after both the Big Ten Conference and Pacific-10 Conference (now Pacific-12) announced plans to expand to 12 members. Brett McMurphy, formerly of CBSSports.com and now with ESPN.com, would sum up the fallout in 2012:

It was [Big Ten commissioner] Jim Delany's cow in a Chicago barn that kicked over the lantern that started the country's conference realignment inferno. After that it was a hundred reactionary moves from other conference commissioners, shoring up their ranks, while scorching college football's landscape. The other 10 [FBS] conferences may have had some hardships, but they will all survive. It's the WAC that got burned to a crisp.[1]

Timeline[edit]

During the week of June 7, 2010, amid rumors surrounding Boise State's future in the WAC, the conference held a meeting of its athletic directors and university presidents in Las Vegas to discuss contingency options. The conference fully expected to lose Boise State, and according to WAC commissioner Karl Benson, there was no bitterness toward BSU by the rest of the current membership. Benson also added that the WAC was considering expanding itself, with the conference eyeing up to six current members of the second-tier Football Championship Subdivision.[7]

Boise State left the WAC for the Mountain West at the end of the 2010–2011 season. On August 18, 2010, Nevada (Reno) and Fresno State were both extended invitations to join the Mountain West Conference, and subsequently accepted.

Four months later, Hawaiʻi also left for the Mountain West, but as a football-only member. Hawaiʻi's other sports joined the Big West. The most dominant football member of the remaining WAC had been considering football independence. With a guaranteed bowl berth into the Hawaiʻi Bowl each year, the Warriors could have negotiated their own TV deal and kept all of the profits. An NCAA rule that allows any team willing to travel to Hawaiʻi to play a 13th regular-season game (which, in practice, means an extra home game) makes it easier for the Warriors to schedule other opponents.[8]

Utah State turned down an offer from the Mountain West at the same time that Fresno State and Nevada accepted theirs, believing that the WAC schools were going to stay together and even be stronger with the possible addition of BYU. After Fresno State and Nevada accepted invitations to the Mountain West it was reported that the WAC had extended invitations to the University of North Texas and University of Louisiana at Lafayette of the Sunbelt Conference. Both schools however declined the invitations to the WAC.

On Sep. 28, 2010, the WAC heard presentations from five schools in an effort to replenish their ranks after Boise State, Fresno State, and Nevada leave for the Mountain West. The schools that made presentations were:

The WAC stated at the time that they planned to issue invitations within 30 to 60 days of hearing the presentation. On November 11, the WAC announced that Denver, UTSA, and Texas State would join the WAC for the 2012–13 season for all sports (with the exception of Denver, which does not sponsor varsity football).[9]

During a September interview with WAC commissioner Karl Benson the only school invited to a private meeting for possible expansion of teams was Montana.[10] However, on November 11, Montana decided to remain a Football Championship Subdivision school in the Big Sky Conference.[11]

On June 14, 2011, the WAC added Division I independent Seattle University, who had been seeking membership to the WCC in the past. Exactly one month later on July 14, the WAC added UT-Arlington from the Southland Conference.

On December 7, 2011 Boise State announced it would return its non-football sports to the WAC in 2013 when it begins playing football with the Big East. Later, Boise State chose to instead place their non-football sports in the Big West Conference, and still later due to further membership changes in the Big East, Boise State decided to stay in the Mountain West.

This would put the WAC at 11 full members, 7 football and 4 non-football (Seattle, Denver, UT-Arlington, and Boise State), 1 football team short of the 8 required for FBS conferences.

However, in the last days of April 2012, multiple media outlets indicated that six teams—three of which had not yet officially joined the conference—would shortly leave the WAC for other conferences. UTSA, which had yet to join the WAC, declared its intent to join Conference USA in 2013, with Louisiana Tech seen as likely to follow suit.[12] Utah State and San Jose State declared their intent to join the Mountain West Conference in 2013.[13] Another report indicated that Texas State and UT-Arlington, which were set to join the WAC alongside UTSA in 2012, would leave for the Sun Belt Conference effective in 2013.[1] This would leave the WAC with only 5 full members, 2 football and 3 non-football.

The first of these schools to make its departure official was Texas State, which announced its move to the Sun Belt on May 2.[14] Two days later, Louisiana Tech and UTSA accepted invitations from C-USA, and San Jose State and Utah State announced their departure for the Mountain West.[15]

Due to the Western Athletic Conference being "raided" by the Mountain West Conference, Conference USA, and the Sun Belt Conference, it was initially unknown what path the WAC would take. After these moves, the WAC was down to only two football programs for the 2013 season - New Mexico State University and the University of Idaho. Since the WAC will not be able to sponsor football for the 2013 season (8 teams are needed for a conference to sponsor football at the FBS level); NMSU and Idaho will become FBS independents for the 2013 season before becoming football-only members of the Sun Belt in 2014.

The WAC seemingly secured its continued existence as a non-football conference, at least for the time being, when it announced on October 9, 2012 that California State University, Bakersfield and Utah Valley University would join the conference starting with the 2013–14 school year. Cal State Bakersfield had previously been independent, and had become a WAC affiliate in baseball for 2012–13. Utah Valley joins from the Great West Conference.[16] Interim WAC commissioner Jeff Hurd added that the WAC was seeking to add further schools, with an immediate goal of eight members and a longer-term goal of 10.[17] However, Hurd's job became more difficult on October 19 when Idaho announced it would move its non-football sports to the Big Sky Conference in July 2014.[18] In addition, Denver announced it was joining The Summit League in 2013. The WAC countered this move with inviting Division II Grand Canyon University to join the conference, who accepted.[19] The conference added another member from the disintegrating Great West on December 5, announcing the 2013 arrival of Chicago State University.[20] An invitation has also been extended to the Great West's University of Texas-Pan American, which was accepted on December 19.[21][22]

By adding these last Great West Conference schools the WAC was able to return to seven schools, which under current NCAA rules a Division I conference that drops below seven members must do within two years to avoid losing its automatic bids to the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments.[17] Then, on February 7, 2013, the University of Missouri-Kansas City announced that it had accepted an invitation to join the WAC, bringing the membership to nine for 2013-14 and eight after Idaho departs.[23]

Membership changes[edit]

School Sport(s) Former conference New conference Date move was announced Expected year move takes effect
Boise State Broncos Full membership WAC Mountain West June 11, 2010 2011[24]
Fresno State Bulldogs Full membership WAC Mountain West August 18, 2010 2012[25]
Nevada Wolf Pack Full membership WAC Mountain West August 18, 2010 2012[25]
UTSA Roadrunners Full membership Southland WAC November 10, 2010 2012[9]
Texas State Bobcats Full membership Southland WAC November 10, 2010 2012[9]
Denver Pioneers Full membership (non-football) Sun Belt WAC November 10, 2010 2012[9]
Hawaiʻi (Rainbow) Warriors and Rainbow Wahine Full membership (non-football) WAC Big West December 10, 2010 2012[26]
Hawaiʻi Warriors Football WAC Mountain West December 10, 2010 2012[26]
Hawaiʻi Rainbow Wahine Women's indoor track and field, women's swimming and diving WAC MPSF December 10, 2010 2012[27]
Hawaiʻi Rainbow Warriors Men's swimming and diving WAC MPSF December 10, 2010 2012[27]
BYU Cougars Softball Mountain West WAC January 27, 2011 2012
Seattle Redhawks Full membership (non-football) Independent WAC June 14, 2011 2012[28]
Seattle Redhawks Softball PCSC WAC June 14, 2011 2012[28]
Seattle Redhawks Women's golf WCC WAC June 14, 2011 2012[28]
North Dakota Fighting Sioux Women's swimming and diving Great West WAC June 15, 2011 2012
Boise State Broncos Women's gymnastics WAC Independent July 1, 2011 2011
UT Arlington Mavericks Full membership (non-football) Southland WAC July 14, 2011 2012
CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners Baseball Independent WAC September 19, 2011 2012[29]
Dallas Baptist Patriots Baseball Independent WAC September 19, 2011 2012[30]
BYU Cougars Softball WAC PCSC December 12, 2011 2012[31]
Texas State Bobcats Full membership WAC[32] Sun Belt May 2, 2012 2013[14]
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs and Lady Techsters Full membership WAC C-USA May 4, 2012 2013[33]
San Jose State Spartans Full membership WAC Mountain West May 4, 2012 2013[34]
Utah State Aggies Full membership WAC Mountain West May 4, 2012 2013[34]
UTSA Roadrunners Full membership WAC[35] C-USA May 4, 2012 2013[33]
UT Arlington Mavericks Full membership (non-football) WAC[32] Sun Belt May 24, 2012 2013
Boise State Broncos Women's gymnastics Independent WAC June 14, 2012 2012[36]
Dallas Baptist Patriots Baseball WAC MVC August 20, 2012 2013
New Mexico State Aggies Football WAC Independent September 12, 2012 2013[37]
CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners Full membership Independent WAC October 9, 2012 2013[16]
CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners Men's and women's outdoor track & field, women's tennis Great West WAC October 9, 2012 2013[16]
CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners Softball PCSC WAC October 9, 2012 2013[16]
Utah Valley Wolverines Full membership (non-wrestling) Great West WAC October 9, 2012 2013[16]
Utah Valley Wolverines Softball PCSC WAC October 9, 2012 2013[16]
Idaho Vandals Football WAC Independent October 19, 2012 2013[38]
Idaho Vandals Full membership (non-football) WAC Big Sky October 19, 2012 2014[38]
Denver Pioneers Full membership (non-football; except gymnastics, hockey, men's and women's lacrosse, and skiing) WAC The Summit November 27, 2012 2013[39]
Grand Canyon Antelopes Full membership PacWest (D-II) WAC November 27, 2012 2013[40]
Chicago State Cougars Full membership Great West WAC December 5, 2012 2013[20]
Northern Colorado Bears Baseball Great West WAC December 12, 2012 2013[41]
Texas–Pan American Broncs Full membership Great West WAC December 19, 2012 2013[22]
Air Force Falcons Men's soccer MPSF WAC January 9, 2013 2013[42]
CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners Men's soccer MPSF WAC January 9, 2013 2013[42]
Houston Baptist Huskies Men's soccer MPSF WAC January 9, 2013 2013[42]
San Jose State Spartans Men's soccer MPSF WAC January 9, 2013 2013[42]
Seattle Redhawks Men's soccer MPSF WAC January 9, 2013 2013[42]
UNLV Rebels Men's soccer MPSF WAC January 9, 2013 2013[42]
UMKC Kangaroos Full membership The Summit WAC February 7, 2013 2013[43]
North Dakota athletics Baseball Great West WAC February 11, 2013 2013[44]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c McMurphy, Brett (April 30, 2012). "Once-proud (and large) WAC on its death bed, and that's a shame". College Football Insider (CBSSports.com). Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  2. ^ From 1978 through 2005, the football grouping now known as Division I FBS was known as Division I-A.
  3. ^ a b c d e Deinhart, Tom (September 14, 2011). "WAC a cautionary tale for superconferences". Rivals.com (Yahoo! Sports). Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  4. ^ Hinton, Matt (August 20, 2012). "RIP WAC: Disintegrating league confirms 2012 football season will be its last". Eye on College Football (CBSSports.com). Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  5. ^ WAC disbanding? – rec.sport.softball | Google Groups. Groups.google.com.
  6. ^ http://www.thehrr.com/Samples/june%2798.pdf
  7. ^ "Boise State moves to Mountain West". ESPN.com. June 11, 2010. Archived from the original on 13 June 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2010. 
  8. ^ Katz, Andy (December 10, 2010). "Hawaii joins MWC, Big West for 2012". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 11, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b c d Associated Press (November 11, 2010). "WAC officially adding Denver, Texas St., Texas-San Antonio - ESPN". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on 13 November 2010. Retrieved November 12, 2010. 
  10. ^ http://www.grizcentral.com/WAC Commissioner recognizes UM would be "perfect fit"
  11. ^ Associated Press (November 11, 2010). "Montana Grizzlies staying in FCS". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on 13 November 2010. Retrieved November 11, 2010. 
  12. ^ McMurphy, Brett (April 28, 2012). "C-USA adding UTSA in 2013; North Texas, FIU, Louisiana Tech also likely". College Football Insider (CBSSports.com). Retrieved May 1, 2012. 
  13. ^ ESPN.com News Services (April 30, 2012). "Report: Utah St., SJSU to join MWC - ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  14. ^ a b "Texas State to Join Sun Belt Conference". Sun Belt Conference (Press release). Sun Belt Conference. 2012-05-02. Retrieved 2012-05-02. 
  15. ^ McMurphy, Brett (May 3, 2012). "7 schools on move Friday; ODU remains undecided". College Football Insider (CBSSports.com). Retrieved May 3, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f "WAC Adds CSUB and UVU To Its Membership" (Press release). Western Athletic Conference. October 9, 2012. Retrieved October 9, 2012. 
  17. ^ a b Associated Press (October 9, 2012). "WAC adds Cal State-Bakersfield, Utah Valley". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved October 13, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Idaho To Return in 2014" (Press release). Big Sky Conference. October 19, 2012. Retrieved October 21, 2012. 
  19. ^ "WAC adds Grand Canyon University" (Press release). ESPN. November 27, 2012. Retrieved November 28, 2012. 
  20. ^ a b "Chicago State University to Join WAC" (Press release). Western Athletic Conference. December 5, 2012. Retrieved December 6, 2012. 
  21. ^ "UTPA to go to board Dec. 18 for WAC invite". The Monitor. December 5, 2012. Retrieved December 8, 2012. 
  22. ^ a b http://www.utpabroncs.com/news/2012/12/19/GEN_1219125815.aspx
  23. ^ http://www.umkckangaroos.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=89995&SPID=10799&DB_LANG=C&ATCLID=20631
  24. ^ Schlabach, Mark (June 11, 2010). "Boise State joins the Mountain West". College Football Nation Blog. ESPN.com. Archived from the original on 13 June 2010. Retrieved June 11, 2010. 
  25. ^ a b Katz, Andy (October 27, 2010). "Fresno State, Nevada: 2012 WAC exit". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on 29 October 2010. Retrieved October 27, 2010. 
  26. ^ a b "Hawaii to Join Big West Conference" (Press release). Big West Conference. 
  27. ^ a b "UH-Manoa Enters New Era In Intercollegiate Athletics" (Press release). University of Hawaiʻi Athletics Department. June 28, 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  28. ^ a b c "WAC Announces Addition of Seattle" (Press release). Western Athletic Conference. June 14, 2011. Retrieved June 14, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Baseball joins WAC in 2013, Track, Tennis to Great West" (Press release). CSU Bakersfield Athletic Communications.  Note that "2013" refers to the 2013 college baseball season, which falls within the 2012–13 academic year.
  30. ^ "Baseball Accepts Invitation to Join WAC" (Press release). Dallas Baptist University Athletcs. 
  31. ^ "BYU softball to join PCSC" (Press release). BYU Athletics. December 12, 2011. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  32. ^ a b At the time Texas State and UT Arlington announced their moves to the Sun Belt Conference, they were still members of the Southland Conference. The two schools did not join the WAC until July 1, 2012.
  33. ^ a b "Conference USA Adds Five New Members" (Press release). Conference USA. May 4, 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2012. 
  34. ^ a b "San José State, Utah State to Join Mountain West" (Press release). Mountain West Conference. May 4, 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2012. 
  35. ^ At the time UTSA announced its move to C-USA, it was still a member of the Southland Conference; it did not join the WAC until July 1, 2012.
  36. ^ Oppie, Troy (June 14, 2012). "WAC welcomes back Boise State gymnastics". KBOI2.com. Retrieved April 7, 2013. 
  37. ^ Hinnen, Jerry (September 12, 2012). "New Mexico State makes it official, will go independent in 2013". Eye on College Football. CBSSports.com. Retrieved October 20, 2012. 
  38. ^ a b Murphy, Brian (October 19, 2012). "Idaho announces 2013 football schedule, plans to move to Big Sky in other sports". Idaho Statesman Blogs. Idaho Statesman. Retrieved October 20, 2012. 
  39. ^ "Denver Becomes The Summit League's Newest Member" (Press release). The Summit League. November 27, 2012. Retrieved November 27, 2012. 
  40. ^ "Grand Canyon University to Join WAC" (Press release). Western Athletic Conference. November 27, 2012. Retrieved November 27, 2012. 
  41. ^ Wasson, Sam (December 12, 2012). "Northern Colorado Joins WAC as Affiliate Member in Baseball in 2014". CollegeBaseballDaily.com. Archived from the original on December 12, 2012. Retrieved December 12, 2012.  Because baseball is a spring sport, Northern Colorado baseball will join the WAC in July 2013.
  42. ^ a b c d e f "WAC Adds Men's Soccer" (Press release). Western Athletic Conference. January 9, 2013. Retrieved April 20, 2013. 
  43. ^ http://www.umkckangaroos.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=89995&SPID=10799&DB_LANG=C&ATCLID=206317961&DB_OEM_ID=18300
  44. ^ http://www.wacsports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=45966&SPID=4123&DB_LANG=C&ATCLID=206351462&DB_OEM_ID=10100

External links[edit]