Western Athletic Conference
|Western Athletic Conference
|Members||10 (9 beginning July 1, 2013, 8 beginning July 1, 2014)|
|Sports fielded||18 (men's: 7; women's: 11)|
|Region||Western United States
West South Central United States
|Commissioner||Jeff Hurd (since 2012)|
The Western Athletic Conference (WAC) is an American collegiate athletic conference, which was formed on July 27, 1962, making it the sixth oldest of the 11 college athletic conferences currently participating in the NCAA's Division I FBS (formerly Division I-A). In football, the WAC is a non-automatic qualifier member of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) selection system. The WAC covers a broad expanse of the western United States, with member institutions located in California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Utah, and Washington, along with the "non-western" states of Louisiana and Texas (traditionally associated with the South). Many long-standing members left to either form or join the Mountain West Conference or to join Conference USA. Three additional former members have moved on to the Pacific-12 Conference. Due to various members leaving the WAC, the conference will drop football as a sponsored sport after the 2012-13 season, therefore becoming a non-football conference.
Member schools 
Current members 
The following institutions are the ten full members of the WAC for the 2012–2013 academic year.
|University of Denver||Pioneers||Denver, Colorado||1864||Private||11,885||
|University of Idaho||Vandals||Moscow, Idaho||1889||Public||12,312||
|Louisiana Tech University||Bulldogs (men's)
Lady Techsters (women's)
|New Mexico State University||Aggies||Las Cruces, New Mexico||1888||Public||18,497||
|San Jose State University||Spartans||San Jose, California||1857||Public||33,805||
|Seattle University||Redhawks||Seattle, Washington||1891||Private||7,755||
|University of Texas at Arlington||Mavericks||Arlington, Texas||1895||Public||33,421||
|University of Texas at San Antonio||Roadrunners||San Antonio, Texas||1969||Public||30,968||
|Texas State University–San Marcos||Bobcats||San Marcos, Texas||1899||Public||34,113||
|Utah State University||Aggies||Logan, Utah||1888||Public||28,994||
Pink denotes schools that will be departing on July 1, 2013. Yellow denotes a school that will be departing on July 1, 2014. Seven current members will leave the WAC on July 1, 2013:
- Louisiana Tech and UTSA will join Conference USA.
- San Jose State and Utah State will join the Mountain West Conference.
- Texas–Arlington and Texas State will join the Sun Belt Conference.
- Denver will join The Summit League.
- Idaho will leave the WAC to re-join the Big Sky Conference for all sports (except football) on July 1, 2014.
- Idaho will join the Sun Belt for football, as will New Mexico State.
Future members 
|California State University, Bakersfield||Roadrunners||Bakersfield, California||1965||Public||8,002||NCAA D-I Independent||2013|
|Chicago State University||Cougars||Chicago, Illinois||1867||Public||7,131||Great West||2013|
|Grand Canyon University||Antelopes||Phoenix, Arizona||1949||Private,
(NCAA Division II)
|University of Missouri–Kansas City||Kangaroos||Kansas City, Missouri||1933||Public||14,499||Summit||2013|
|University of Texas–Pan American||Broncs||Edinburg, Texas||1927||Public||17,048||Great West||2013|
|Utah Valley University||Wolverines||Orem, Utah||1941||Public||33,395||Great West||2013|
Affiliate members 
The following eight schools field programs in the WAC for sports not sponsored by their primary conferences.
- Cal State-Bakersfield will become a full member on the 2013-14 season.
- The 2013 WAC Gymnastics championships was announced as being the last.
- Dallas Baptist will join the Missouri Valley Conference for baseball as of the 2014 season (2013-14 academic year).
- North Dakota and Northern Colorado will join the WAC conference for baseball for the 2014 season (2013-14 academic year).
Future affiliate members 
Four schools will become affiliate members in men's soccer in July 2013; the WAC announced on January 9, 2013 that it would reinstate the sport, which it had sponsored from 1996 to 1999. Because the conference dropped football, it had to add a new men's team sport to maintain its Division I status. It chose men's soccer because three of the confirmed members for 2013–14 (CSU Bakersfield, Grand Canyon, and Seattle) already sponsored the sport, and filled out its soccer ranks by attracting four schools from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Three of these schools have current or past WAC connections—departing full member San Jose State and former full members Air Force and UNLV. After the WAC announced it would add men's soccer, the conference gained an eighth soccer school for the 2013 season when UMKC, which already sponsors the sport, joined.
|Institution||Nickname||Location||Founded||Type||Enrollment||Primary Conference||WAC Sport||Joining|
|United States Air Force Academy (Air Force)||Falcons||Colorado Springs, Colorado||1955||Federal||4,413||Mountain West||Men's soccer||2013|
|Houston Baptist University||Huskies||Houston, Texas||1960||Private||2,567||Great West (Southland in 2013)||Men's soccer||2013|
|San Jose State University||Spartans||San Jose, California||1857||Public||30,448||WAC (Mountain West in 2013)||Men's soccer||2013|
|University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV)||Rebels||Paradise, Nevada||1957||Public||29,069||Mountain West||Men's soccer||2013|
Former members 
The WAC has 19 former members.
Membership timeline 
Full members Full members (non-football) Other conference Other conference
∗ - In football, BYU is currently competing as one of the NCAA Division I FBS independent schools.
¶ - In football, Hawai'i is currently competing in the Mountain West Conference.
The WAC formed out of a series of talks between Brigham Young University athletic director Eddie Kimball and other university administrators from 1958 to 1961 to form a new athletic conference that would better fit the needs and situations of certain universities which were at the time members of the Border, Skyline, and Pacific Coast Conferences. Potential member universities who were represented at the meetings included BYU, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Arizona State, and Wyoming. While the three Washington and Oregon schools elected to stay in a revamped Pac-8 Conference that replaced the scandal-plagued PCC, the remaining six schools formed the WAC, forcing the disbandment of the Border and Skyline conferences. The charter members of the WAC were Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. New Mexico State and Utah State applied for charter membership and were turned down; they would eventually become WAC members 43 years later.
Success and first expansion 
The conference proved to be an almost perfect fit for the six schools from both a competitive and financial standpoint. Arizona and Arizona State, in particular, experienced success in baseball with Arizona garnering the 1963 College World Series (CWS) runner-up trophy and ASU winning the CWS in 1965, 1967, and 1969. Colorado State and Texas-El Paso (UTEP), at that time just renamed from Texas Western College, joined in 1967 to bring membership up to eight.
With massive growth in the state of Arizona, the balance of WAC play in the 1970s became increasingly skewed in favor of the Arizona schools, who won or tied for all but two WAC football titles from 1969 onward. In the summer of 1978, the two schools left the WAC for the Pac-8, which became the Pac-10, and were replaced in the WAC by San Diego State and, one year later, Hawaii. The WAC further expanded by adding Air Force in the summer of 1980. A college football national championship won by Brigham Young in 1984 added to the WAC's reputation as the best of the so-called mid-major conferences. This nine-team line-up of the WAC defined the conference for nearly 15 years.
Second wave of expansion and turbulence 
Fresno State expanded its athletic program in the early 1990s and was granted membership in 1992 as the nationwide trend against major college programs independent of conferences accelerated. The WAC merged with the High Country Athletic Conference, a parallel organization to the WAC for women's athletics, in 1990 to unify both men's and women's athletics under one administrative structure.
In 1996, the WAC expanded again, adding six schools to its ranks for a total of sixteen. Rice, TCU, and SMU joined the league from the Southwest Conference, which had disbanded. Big West Conference members San Jose State and UNLV were also admitted, as well as Tulsa from the Missouri Valley Conference. Also, two WAC members for men's sports at the time, Air Force and Hawaiʻi, brought their women's sports into the WAC. With the expansion, the WAC was divided into two divisions.
To help in organizing schedules and travel for the farflung league, the members were divided into four quadrants of four teams each, as follows:
|Quadrant 1||Quadrant 2||Quadrant 3||Quadrant 4|
|Fresno State||Air Force||Utah||TCU|
|San Diego State||Colorado State||New Mexico||SMU|
|San Jose State||Wyoming||UTEP||Rice|
Quadrant one was always part of the Pacific Division, and quadrant four was always part of the Mountain Division. Quadrant two was part of the Pacific Division for 1996 and 1997 before switching to the Mountain Division in 1998, while the reverse was true for quadrant three. The scheduled fourth year of the alignment was abandoned after eight schools left to form the Mountain West Conference.
Increasingly, this arrangement was not satisfactory to most of the older, pre-1990 members. Five members in particular (Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, Utah, and Wyoming) felt that WAC expansion had compromised the athletic and academic excellence of the membership. Additional concerns centered around finances, as the new league stretched from Hawaiʻi to Oklahoma and travel costs became a concern. In 1999, those five schools, along with old line WAC schools New Mexico and San Diego State, as well as newcomer UNLV, split off and formed the new Mountain West Conference.
A USA Today article sums up why the league broke up. "With Hawaii and the Texas schools separated by about 3,900 miles and four time zones, travel costs were a tremendous burden for WAC teams. The costs, coupled with lagging revenue and a proposed realignment that would have separated rivals such as Colorado State and Air Force, created unrest among the eight defecting schools."
WAC in the 2000s 
When the Big West announced that it would drop football after the 2000 season, four of its members (Boise State, Idaho, New Mexico State, and Utah State) wanted to continue their football programs. Boise State was invited to join the WAC and promptly departed the Big West, while New Mexico State and Idaho joined the Sun Belt Conference (NMSU as a full member, Idaho as a "football only" member) and Utah State operated as an independent D-IA program. At the same time, Louisiana Tech (LA Tech) ended its independent D-IA status and also accepted an invitation to join the WAC with Boise State.
In 2005, Conference USA sought new members to replenish its ranks after losing members to the Big East, which had lost members to the ACC. Four WAC schools, former SWC schools Rice and SMU, as well as Tulsa, and UTEP, joined Conference USA. In response, the WAC added Idaho, New Mexico State, and Utah State – all former Big West schools which left the conference in 2000 along with Boise State when that conference dropped football. The three new schools were all land grant universities, bringing the conference total to five (Nevada and Hawaiʻi).
Membership changes and the elimination of football 
The decade of the 2010s began with a series of conference realignment moves that would have trickle-down effects throughout Division I football, and profoundly change the membership of the WAC. Boise State decided to move to the Mountain West Conference (MWC) for the 2011-12 season, and to replace departing BYU, the MWC also recruited WAC members Fresno State and Nevada for 2012-13. WAC commissioner Karl Benson courted several schools to replace those leaving, including the University of Montana, which declined, as well as the University of Denver, University of Texas at San Antonio, and Texas State University-San Marcos, which all accepted effective 2012-13.
But the resulting eastward shift of the conference's geographic center led the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa to reduce travel expenses by becoming a football-only member of the MWC and joining the California-based Big West Conference for all other sports. Further invitations were then issued by the WAC to Seattle University and the University of Texas at Arlington. These changes meant that the conference would have 10 members for 2012–13, seven of which sponsored football, and Benson announced that the WAC planned to add two additional football-playing members to begin competition in 2013. A further boost came when Boise State decided to join the Big East in football, and return to the WAC in most other sports, as of the 2013–14 academic year. So by the end of 2011, the WAC seemed to have weathered the latest round of conference changes, and once again reinvented itself for the future.
But from this seemingly strong position, early 2012 brought forth a series of moves that shook the conference to its very core, beginning with Utah State and San Jose State accepting offers to join the MWC. Four similar announcements followed with Texas-San Antonio and Louisiana Tech jumping to Conference USA, plus Texas State and UT-Arlington heading to the Sun Belt Conference, all as of 2013-14. Boise State also canceled plans to rejoin the WAC, instead opting to place its non-football sports in the Big West Conference, before eventually deciding to simply remain in the MWC. These changes left the WAC's viability as a Division I football conference in doubt so the two remaining programs, New Mexico State and Idaho, began making plans to compete in future seasons as FBS Independents.
In order to rebuild, as well as forestall further defections, the conference was forced to add two schools -- Utah Valley University and CSU Bakersfield -- which were invited in October 2012 to join the WAC in 2013-14, but this did not prevent two more members from leaving. Denver decided to take most of its athletic teams to The Summit League as of the 2013-14 season, shortly after Idaho opted to return all of its non-football sports to the Big Sky Conference in 2014-15. The conference responded over the next two months by adding Grand Canyon University, Chicago State University, and the University of Texas-Pan American. Then, in February 2013, the WAC announced the University of Missouri–Kansas City would join in the summer of 2013 as well. These changes would put the conference's membership at eight members by 2014 with only one, New Mexico State, having been in the WAC just three years earlier. Due to losing the majority of its football-playing members, the WAC would stop sponsoring the sport after the 2012-13 season, thereby becoming a non-football conference.
The Western Athletic Conference currently sponsors championship competition in seven men's and eleven women's NCAA sanctioned sports. Eight schools are currently Associate members in three sports.
|Swimming & Diving||
|Track and Field (Indoor)||
|Track and Field (Outdoor)||
- Note 1 = With the changes in membership, football will not be a sponsored sport after the 2012 season.
- Note 2 = Of the six schools competing in women's gymnastics, three are Associate members, and the three member schools are all departing to other conferences. The conference has announced it will no longer sponsor the sport.
- Note 3 = Men's soccer will become a sponsored sport; current member Seattle and future members Cal State-Bakersfield, Grand Canyon, and UMKC already compete in men's soccer, and future members Chicago State and Utah Valley are adding the sport for competition in the 2014 season and Texas-Pan American for 2015. Air Force, Houston Baptist, San Jose State, and UNLV will also compete in soccer as WAC affiliate members beginning in 2013.
- Note 4 = Of the eight schools competing in women's swimming and diving, four are Associate members; of the full members New Mexico State and Seattle remain; of the five new members, only two compete in women's swimming and diving, and Cal State Bakersfield has already been an Associate. If the other Associates remain with the WAC, there will be seven schools to compete, otherwise this sport could move to the MPSF, which currently has eight teams competing.
For the most recent and final season, see 2012 Western Athletic Conference football season
|Idaho||1893||443–568–26||.427||2||2–0||9||Kibbie Dome||Paul Petrino|
|Louisiana Tech||1901||571–428–37||.551||6||2–3–1||25||Joe Aillet Stadium||Skip Holtz|
|New Mexico State||1893||422–587–31||.405||3||2–0–1||4||Aggie Memorial Stadium||DeWayne Walker|
|San Jose State||1892||465–462–38||.515||9||6–3||16||Spartan Stadium||Ron Caragher|
|Texas State||1904||489–410–28||.527||0||0–0||14||Bobcat Stadium||Dennis Franchione|
|Utah State||1892||505–510–31||.482||6||1–5||11||Romney Stadium||Matt Wells|
|Pick||Name||Location||Opposing Conference||Opposing Pick|
|1||Famous Idaho Potato Bowl||Boise, Idaho||MAC||3|
Bowl Championship Series
The WAC champion received an automatic berth in one of the five BCS bowl games if they were the highest ranked non-automatic qualifying conference champion and either of the following:
- Ranked in the top 12 of the BCS Rankings.
- Ranked in the top 16 of the BCS Rankings and its ranking was higher than that of an automatic qualifying conference champion.
By qualifying under the first criterion above, the 2006 Boise State football team landed a berth in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, and the 2007 Hawaiʻi football team received a bid to play in the 2008 Sugar Bowl. In 2009 the Mountain West champion TCU received the automatic BCS bid by finishing higher than Boise State in the final BCS rankings; however, the Broncos received an at-large BCS bid to the 2010 Fiesta Bowl. In three BCS bowl games, the WAC boasted a record of two wins and one loss. In addition to those three teams that played in BCS bowls, four other WAC teams qualified for a BCS berth but were not selected for a bid, including TCU in 2000 and Boise State in 2004, 2008, and 2010.
Football rivalries involving WAC teams included:
|Teams||Rivalry Name||Trophy||Meetings||Record||Series Leader||Current Streak|
|Idaho||Boise State||–||Governor's Trophy||40||17–22–1||Boise State||Boise State won 12|
|Idaho||Montana||–||Little Brown Stein||84||55–27–2||Idaho||Montana won 4|
|Idaho||Washington State||Battle of the Palouse||–||91||18–70–3||Washington State||Washington State won 7|
|Louisiana Tech||Fresno State||Battle for the Bone||–||11||4–7||Fresno State||Louisiana Tech won 1|
|Louisiana Tech||Southern Miss||Rivalry in Dixie||–||44||13–31||Southern Miss||Southern Miss won 3|
|New Mexico State||New Mexico||Rio Grande Rivalry||Maloof Trophy||102||31–66–5||New Mexico||New Mexico won 1|
|New Mexico State||UTEP||The Battle of I-10||Silver Spade, Brass Spittoon||88||35–51–2||UTEP||UTEP won 2|
|San Jose State||Fresno State||Valley Rivalry||–||76||34–39–3||Fresno State||San Jose State won 1|
|San Jose State||Stanford||Bill Walsh Legacy Game||–||64||14–49–1||Stanford||Stanford won 3|
|Utah State||BYU||–||Old Wagon Wheel||80||34–44–3||BYU||BYU won 1|
|Utah State||Utah||Battle of the Brothers||–||109||28–77–4||Utah||Utah State won 1|
Men's basketball 
|Denver||1904||1168–1206||.492||0||0–0||Magness Arena||Joe Scott|
|Idaho||1906||1222–1368||.472||4||1–4||Cowan Spectrum||Don Verlin|
|Louisiana Tech||1926||1171–921||.560||5||4–5||Thomas Assembly Center||Michael White|
|New Mexico State||1905||1329–1018–2||.566||18||10–20||Pan American Center||Marvin Menzies|
|San Jose State||1910||1102–1242||.470||3||0–3||Event Center Arena||George Nessman|
|Texas–Arlington||1960||585–832||.413||1||0–1||College Park Center||Scott Cross|
|Texas State||1921||1191–1029||.536||2||0–2||Strahan Coliseum||Doug Davalos|
|Utah State||1904||1443–998||.591||20||6–22||Smith Spectrum||Stew Morrill|
|UTSA||1982||456–408||.528||4||1–4||Convocation Center||Brooks Thompson|
Men's basketball rivalries involving WAC teams include:
|Teams||Meetings||Record||Series Leader||Current Streak|
|Idaho||Boise State||85||35–50||Boise State||Boise State Won 2|
|New Mexico State||New Mexico||208||95–113||New Mexico||New Mexico Won 1|
|New Mexico State||UTEP||200||102–98||New Mexico State||UTEP Won 1|
|Texas–Arlington||UTSA||66||37–29||UTSA||UTA Won 2|
|Texas–Arlington||Texas State||55||30–25||Texas State||UTA Won 2|
|UTSA||Texas State||55||32–23||UTSA||UTSA Won 1|
|Utah State||BYU||227||91–136||BYU||Utah State Won 1|
|Utah State||Utah||223||93–130||Utah||Utah State Won 1|
Women's basketball 
|Denver||1974||481–368||.567||1||0–1||Magness Arena||Kerry Cremeans|
|Idaho||1975||503–511||.496||1||0–1||Cowan Spectrum||Jon Newlee|
|Louisiana Tech||1975||1000–212||.825||27||65–25||Thomas Assembly Center||Teresa Weatherspoon|
|New Mexico State||1983||437–406||.518||2||0–2||Pan American Center||Mark Trakh|
|San Jose State||1975||328–662||.331||0||0–0||Event Center Arena||Tim La Kose|
|Seattle||1978||–||.||0||0–0||Connolly Center||Joan Bonvicini|
|Texas–Arlington||1973||554–550||.502||2||0–2||College Park Center||Samantha Morrow|
|Texas State||1983||401–408||.496||2||0–2||Strahan Coliseum||Zenarae Antoine|
|Utah State||1983||105–263||.285||0||0–0||Smith Spectrum||Jerry Finkbeiner|
|UTSA||1982||429–414||.509||2||0–2||Convocation Center||Rae Rippetoe-Blair|
Women's basketball rivalries involving WAC teams include:
|Teams||Meetings||Record||Series Leader||Current Streak|
|Louisiana Tech||Fresno State||26||17–9||Louisiana Tech||Fresno State Won 1|
|Louisiana Tech||LSU||26||14–12||Louisiana Tech||LSU Won 5|
|Louisiana Tech||Tennessee||41||17–24||Tennessee||Tennessee Won 9|
|Louisiana Tech||Western Kentucky||39||26–13||Louisiana Tech||Louisiana Tech Won 2|
|Texas–Arlington||UTSA||54||30–24||UTA||UTA Won 2|
|Texas–Arlington||Texas State||57||26–31||Texas State||UTA Won 1|
|UTSA||Texas State||39||10–29||UTSA||Texas State Won 1|
The WAC has claimed seven NCAA baseball national championships. The most recent WAC national champion is the 2008 Fresno State Bulldogs baseball team.
Current WAC champions 
National championships 
The following teams have won NCAA national championships while being a member of the WAC:
- Arizona – baseball (1976)
- Arizona State – baseball (1965, 1967, 1969, 1977)
- BYU – men's track & field (shared the national title in 1970)
- BYU – men's golf (1981)
- BYU – women's cross country (1997)
- Fresno State – softball (1998)
- Fresno State – baseball (2008)
- Rice – baseball (2003)
- UTEP – NCAA Division I Men's Cross Country (1969, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1981)
- UTEP – NCAA Division I Men's Indoor Track and Field (1974,1975,1976,1978,1980,1981,1982)
- UTEP – NCAA Division I Men's Outdoor Track and Field (1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982)
- UNLV – men's golf (1998)
The WAC has also produced one AP national champion in football:
- Arizona State (13) – swimming (6), badminton (4), softball (2), golf (1)
- Utah (3) – cross country (Div. II), gymnastics, skiing
- UTEP (1) – indoor track and field
The following current WAC teams have won NCAA national championships:
- Ice Hockey (1958, 1960, 1961, 1968, 1969, 2004, 2005)
- Skiing (1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010)
- Louisiana Tech – Women's basketball (1981, 1982, 1988)
- Idaho – Boxing (1940, 1941, 1950)
- San Jose State
- Boxing (1958, 1959, 1960)
- Men's cross country (1962, 1963)
- Men's golf (1948)
- Women's golf (1987, 1989, 1992)
- Men's outdoor track and field (1969)
Note: Future members highlighted in gray. Members leaving highlighted in pink.
The WAC awards its Commissioner's Cup to the school that performs the best in each of the conference's 19 men's and women's championships.
Joe Kearney Award
Named in honor of former WAC commissioner Dr. Joseph Kearney, the awards are given annually to the top male and female WAC athlete. The various WAC member institutions Athletics Directors select the male award winner, while the WAC member instituitions Senior Women's Administrators choose the female honoree.
Stan Bates Award
The award is named in honor of former WAC Commissioner Stan Bates and honors the WAC's top male and female scholar-athletes, recognizing the recipients’ athletic and academic accomplishments. In addition, the awards carry a $2,000 postgraduate scholarship.
WAC Sports Network 
In 2010, the WAC initiated the WAC Sports Network to increase television exposure throughout the conference's media markets. Football and basketball games were produced and distributed throughout the year. The network lasted two seasons and has ceased to operate, but it could be brought back if Learfield Sports, which operated the network, gains additional broadcast rights among new WAC teams.
WAC.tv is a subscription-based provider of live and on-demand online streaming video of WAC events.
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-  Retrieved on 2012-11-27.
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