WAC adds Utah Valley, CSU Bakersfield; Will it be able to keep Idaho?

By Brian Murphy
bmurphy@idahostatesman.com

Utah Valley University and CSU Bakersfield have agreed to join the Western Athletic Conference in July 1, 2013, the league announced Tuesday. The additions bring the total number of members to six, including Idaho, New Mexico State, Seattle and Denver.

The conference is transitioning to a non-football league. It will not sponsor football in 2013 and is unlikely to sponsor football in 2014.

"This is the first step in what I would anticipate to be a multi-step process as time goes on," WAC Interim Commissioner Jeff Hurd said. "The WAC certainly has more work to do."

Hurd said the first step is to get to eight teams, but he would like to grow to 10 and eventually 12 members.

Idaho has been negotiating with the Big Sky Conference about potential membership.

"Relative to Idaho, we do not have assurances that Idaho will be part of the WAC long term," Hurd said. "I have to work under the assumption that Idaho is a WAC member and, until we are told differently, that's how we will proceed."

In 2013-14 and 2014-15, the WAC can play as a six-member league and maintain its automatic bid in NCAA tournaments, including the lucrative men's basketball tournament.

The WAC will not distribute year-end revenue to any of its departing members, which means there is additional money for continuing members. The WAC is losing Louisiana Tech, Utah State, San Jose State, Texas State, Texas-San Antonio and Texas-Arlington (non-football) after this season. The league lost Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii after the 2011-12 academic year.

Idaho and New Mexico State, as football-playing members, are in line to receive the majority of the revenue.

"We have a formula that has been adopted (to distribute the revenue)," Hurd said. "The bulk of the money would go to football-playing members."

Big Sky Commissioner Doug Fullerton told the Idaho Statesman in September that Idaho is likely to join his league for the 2014-15 season rather than next year because of financial considerations.

"We're steadily moving forward," Fullerton said. "I'm very confident that Idaho will be playing in the Big Sky sooner rather than later."

WAC statement

DENVER – The Western Athletic Conference today announced that invitations for membership have been issued to and accepted by California State University, Bakersfield and Utah Valley University to join the conference effective July 1, 2013.

The announcement was made by the chair of the WAC Board of Directors, Seattle University President Stephen Sundborg, S.J., and WAC Interim Commissioner Jeff Hurd.

“CSU Bakersfield and Utah Valley University accepting our invitation to join the WAC is great news as our conference looks to a very promising future,” said Sundborg. “These two fine institutions are making significant investments in their athletic programs, and we look forward to the many ways they will help the WAC build on its great tradition and national reputation."

“Both are quality institutions and bring high level competitive and academic qualities to the 2013-14 membership,” said Hurd. “We are excited to begin the process of rebuilding the WAC and will continue to work to reestablish the league as one of the top Division I conferences in the West.”

Hurd added that the current expansion helps strengthen the conference as it enters a new era next year. The WAC will continue to explore the possibility of bringing additional members to the league as it makes the transition from an FBS conference to a non-football playing Division I conference.

California State University, Bakersfield, currently a NCAA Division I Independent, was founded in 1965 and has an enrollment of 8,200. Prior to their reclassification to NCAA Division I, the Roadrunners were a model Division II athletics program, winning 30 National Championships and the prestigious Sears Director’s Cup. CSU Bakersfield is the only CSU institution to achieve such status. The tradition of athletics success has carried into Division I as evidenced by the recent participation in postseason play by many athletics programs including men’s soccer (NCAA 2011), men’s basketball (CIT 2012) and women’s basketball (WBI 2010-2011). Additionally, CSUB baseball, which will begin WAC play this academic year, won 33 games in 2011 and has had six players drafted in the MLB Draft in just four years of existence.

Academically, nearly half of CSU Bakersfield student-athletes maintain a 3.0 GPA. The institution continues to expand its academic offerings, recently beginning engineering and agriculture-business majors as well as a joint doctorate program.

With this membership, at least 13 of CSUB’s 18 teams will become members of the WAC; most notably, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s soccer and volleyball, all of which were the lone remaining teams playing NCAA Division I Independent schedules.

Situated in California’s heavily populated San Joaquin Valley, CSU Bakersfield has the distinction of being the only NCAA Division I program within a 110-mile radius of its campus. Accordingly, a top-75 media market with coverage from all four broadcast networks, over 20 radio stations and the presence of both English and Spanish newspapers serves the nearly 1,000,000 residents of Kern County, California.

Utah Valley University, currently a member of the Great West Conference, was founded in 1941 and is home to more than 33,000 students. The Wolverines sponsor 15 intercollegiate sports, 14 of which will compete in the WAC: baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field and women’s volleyball.

In 2009, UVU ended seven years of provisional status and was officially recognized as a full NCAA Division I member, becoming the first institution to leap into the D-I ranks directly from junior college status. In each of its three seasons in the Great West, the Wolverines have won the GWC Commissioner’s Cup. Over the past two years, Utah Valley has had six student-athletes receive All-America recognition, including three baseball players from the 2012 team that led the nation with a .797 winning percentage. Also in 2012, men’s basketball became the school’s first team to compete in a postseason game in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

Headline unclear

one would think it might be a football issue but we are talking about other sports.

If the W.A.C. was a Horse

It would be just plain merciful to put it out of it's misery with a bullet to the brain.

Heck I look forward

to watching Idaho play Montana, Montana St. and Weber State again!

Where does one watch such games, anyway?

Root sports.

As far as the time, they like to show them several minutes befe FBS teams are done playing.

Why did the MWC form?

If the MWC is going to turn out to be old WAC teams then this league never should have been formed and all it has done is fracture collegiate athletics in the west.

their games should be..

on Roots. Tune in 4 minutes before BSU's game ends.

Good one frog

Quite funny

Does anyone look at the map ?

"Situated in California’s heavily populated San Joaquin Valley, CSU Bakersfield has the distinction of being the only NCAA Division I program within a 110-mile radius of its campus. Accordingly, a top-75 media market with coverage from all four broadcast networks, over 20 radio stations and the presence of both English and Spanish newspapers serves the nearly 1,000,000 residents of Kern County, California."

If one expands the radius by a couple of miles one finds Fresno State, USC, UCLA and a host of other colleges and universities.
As to media markets, the LA market overwhelms Bakersfield.
While I'm sure that CalState Bakersfield has a nice local following, I suspect that Pac 12 sports will always overwhelm them.

Read more here: http://voices.idahostatesman.com/2012/10/09/bmurphy/wac_adds_utah_valley_cal_state_bakersfield_will_it_be_able_keep_#storylink=cpy

Gonna be funny if....

La Tech beats Tex AM and goes unbeaten to play in a bcs game. Kinda be fitting seeing that WAC football and the bcs are both about dead.
Good luck to La Tech and the WAC from an old WAC fan.

See ya WAC, it has been fun

See ya WAC, it has been fun but it is time to go. Plus look for Denver to leave, I'm thinking the Missouri Valley Conference along with USAF will head there. USAF will need a place to put their teams when they hopefully head to the Big East. Denver and USAF both have great academics and that conference has some very good academic schools plus an opportunity for the conference to expand into a good tv market and to expand their footprint. See you in the Big Sky Idaho, I look forward to never hearing from you again which will be fantastic. And BTW, La Tech doesn't not have a chance to get into the BCS, probably needed to be ranked to start the season as Boise learned a few times. Not saying it is right and fair but just the way it is...

If LaTech wins this weekend

they will be right in the middle of the BCS mess.

* I don't think they will beat A & M though.......

Φ LA Tech currently gets 8

(up by 2) with the O/U at 79/79.5 (up by 6/6.5). Money is going to A&M.

Go Aggies!

If La Tech had played this game when it was

originally scheduled, no one would be talking about them at all.

I'll take it one step further P2

If the game would have been played as scheduled, A & M may be sitting in the top 5 right now.

Well, they did lose to Florida

and florida was all hype no bite. So, I dont think top 5...
But definitely top 15ish.

Φ Clarify, please.

Florida is 5-0 after downing LSU and is 6th nationally in giving up points (at 11.4).

Or, did I miss a bit of sarcasm?

sarcasm

Just poking fun at the polling system.

But seriously if La Tech beats a and m THEN we can talk about how they are a threat to bust. But we all know that wont happen. And if they hadn't been scared by the weather channel's hype they would have played the game already.

Not at all

If A&M gets that warm up game in, they beat Florida (came very close as it is) and would be 6 - 0 with 3 SEC wins.

Just throwing it out there.

possible

I'll feel better if BSU looks good against Fresno and fresno loses. Then December 2nd looks huge.

Φ A couple of pretty strong assumptions

there.

Easy to say when ...

Maybe, but I watched that Florida game

A&M probably should have won, they certainly were not out played by Florida.

Φ Did not see that game.

The stats were very close, no turnovers. Florida led in ToP by 10 minutes.

Something can always be said about getting another team "early". Then, again.

Florida really did a nice job on LSU in the second half on Saturday. Stuffed the Tigers repeatedly in the run game and LSU still cannot throw (apart from their D, they aren't very good). I watched most of that one.

South Carolina @ Florida on October 20. Notice that Florida has 8 home games this year? Away games: A&M, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, FSU.

Alabama also has 8 home games; LSU 8; Georgia 8; Tennessee 8; Arkansas 8; Auburn 8; South Carolina 7; Miss. State 7; Ole Miss 7. Home cooking (and a couple of FCS weekends) usually leads to pretty good records.