Blog Entry

WAC tries to stay alive

Posted on: November 19, 2010 9:57 am
Edited on: November 20, 2010 8:38 am

The Western Athletic Conference will attempt to soldier on despite an apparent death blow Thursday night. Hawaii's reported defection to the Mountain West weakens the WAC but it doesn't kill it, according to WAC commissioner Karl Benson.

Hawaii apparently has a deal to leave the WAC after 32 years -- to play football in the Mountain West and all other sports in the Big West -- according to overnight reports. That would leave the WAC with only seven members in football and eight in basketball beginning in 2012. The WAC's Division I basketball membership would be affected first. Per the NCAA's "continuity-of-membership" clause each basketball conference needs a minimum of six Division I members who have been together at least six years. Beginning in 2012, the year Hawaii reportedly will leave for the Mountain West, the WAC will have only five such members.

However, Benson said pending NCAA legislation will allow the WAC to keep its automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

"We're anticipating the new NCAA legislation that is expected to be adopted in January that eliminates the continuity-of-membership issue," Benson said Friday morning.

Told of Benson's comments, one Division I-A official said, "I can't imagine that that [legislation] would get through."

The league's BCS membership (as a non-automatic qualifier) is unaffected at least through the current television contract that goes through the 2013 season (2014 bowls). The BCS does not require a minimum number of conference members, according to Benson.  Benson said the NCAA requires a minimum of eight conference members but that is only for NCAA governance purposes. The WAC could still compete in football with the seven members. The league would not be listed as Division I-A.

"It [number of members] doesn't matter for this contract," said one person familiar with the BCS process. "It remains to be seen what happens in the next contract."

However, the WAC is not done adding members, Benson said. Montana and Cal-Davis have been mentioned as possible WAC additions.

"Our plan today is to get back to eight football-playing members," Benson said. "That still will be our goal."

The WAC recently added emerging I-AA programs Texas State and Texas-San Antonio. Both begin WAC play in 2012 as I-A members. Denver was added in basketball only. The WAC had to make a move after losing Nevada, Fresno State and Boise State to the Mountain West in the last few months. Hawaii will move to the Mountain West in 2012 giving that conference 11 members.

Benson said his league was in the process of allowing Hawaii to compete in the WAC in football only and putting all its other sports in another conference. Instead, Hawaii went for the Mountain West deal. The MWC is chasing an automatic BCS bid -- at least temporarily in 2012 and 2013. That pursuit was hurt by the loss of Utah to the Pac-10 and BYU going independent.

This is the current membership of the WAC

Boise State
Fresno State
Louisiana Tech
Utah State
New Mexico State
San Jose State

This is what the WAC membership could look like in 2012 if Hawaii leaves

Denver (basketball only)
Texas State
Texas-San Antonio
San Jose State
New Mexico State
Louisiana Tech
Utah State


Since: Mar 6, 2008
Posted on: November 20, 2010 12:51 pm

WAC tries to stay alive

Wow, the WAC would seriously be the worst FBS division in all of Football,  Sun Belters would be the happiest conference in America!

Since: Feb 14, 2008
Posted on: November 20, 2010 12:13 pm

WAC tries to stay alive

Looking at the proposed 2012 WAC conference lineup,
the school that dont fit are San Jose State and Idaho.
But there are schools in Texas and Louisiana that
might be a good fit.  North Texas State and Louisiana-Lafayette
among others come to mind.

Since: Sep 3, 2006
Posted on: November 20, 2010 10:22 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Sep 3, 2006
Posted on: November 19, 2010 11:45 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Mar 13, 2009
Posted on: November 19, 2010 5:21 pm

WAC tries to stay alive

Who are you suggesting do this?  The NCAA cannot demote programs to Div I-AA just because they don't see them as worthy or competitive.  They have to fail to meet the requirements such as attendance or scheduling, and even then it takes time to enforce.

Since: Sep 9, 2006
Posted on: November 19, 2010 3:44 pm

WAC tries to stay alive

The writing is on the wall, any teams left in the WAC that can routinely compete with teams from BCS conferences are leaving. As they should if they want to continue to move up and try to break through. Staying in the WAC does nothing to improve their prestige or perception for a seat at the table.

For all the gains Boise State has made the past 10 years, all the wins, BCS Bowl wins, the big knock on them has always been their conference. So ... they jumped ship to the MWC, a good move. It's a shame that BYU and Utah will be moving on as the MWC would've had a strong case to challenge the Big East and ACC for auto BCS status. As it stands, still a pretty nice conference:

Air Force -- current Top 30
Boise St -- current Top 5
Colorado St
Fresno St -- current Top 40
Hawa'ii -- current Top 30
Nevada -- current Top 20
New Mexico
San Diego St -- current Top 30
Texas Christian -- current Top 5

One more team and this could be shaping up as a nice conference. SMU ... Houston ... perhaps?

Getting to 12 is a big deal and would add a MWC Championship Game. That's what all the other conferences have or are striving for. The Big East is trying to expand now too so they can do the same. It's the name of the game.

The remaining WAC teams are really tough sells for other mainstream conferences, Some may land in C-USA while others in the Sunbelt.

Since: Nov 2, 2006
Posted on: November 19, 2010 2:57 pm

WAC tries to stay alive

Demote the rest to FCS, they don't belong in FBS the way it is, other than Idaho, and they're borderline.  FBS has to many teams the way it is let alone the possibility of bringing up some more teams from the FCS.

Since: Jan 22, 2007
Posted on: November 19, 2010 2:53 pm

WAC tries to stay alive

Ugh, wouldn't be overly fond of having Utah State in the WAC.  A better football school would be preferred, though I'm getting the sense that the MWC is trying to avoid going to war with C-USA.  The WAC, they're already standing over the corpse with a bloody knife, so may as well stab it a few more times.

Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: November 19, 2010 2:37 pm

WAC tries to stay alive

Um, no Dennis. That's not how it is through 2011 season. Boise leaves BEFORE the 2011 season. Might want to fix that. What next, Don Treadwell might steal Mark Dantonio's job?

Since: Nov 29, 2008
Posted on: November 19, 2010 2:37 pm

WAC tries to stay alive

Who cares at this point what happens to the WAC.  This is going to be the worst conference in Div. 1.  However, Hawaii coming to the MWC is terrific.  This will be a great football conference.  Can't wait!!!!  and congrats Hawaii

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