The Daily Aggie :: 07/08/11 :: WAC Expansion Forthcoming?

There is a very, very interesting development in the WAC expansion situation. The guys over at BobcatReport.com (TXST) have dug up the Agenda for the UT Board of Regents' meeting coming up this week and according to that document, UT-Arlington will be joining the WAC with an announcement coming as soon as July 14th. UT-Arlington does not sponsor football and their addition could mean the additions of Utah Valley and Cal State-Bakersfield, two schools who were passed over when Seattle was added a few weeks back. That expansion would bring the league to 12 non-football playing schools and potentially create an East/West split in the league which could look like this:

East
Denver
Louisiana Tech
New Mexico State
Texas State
UT-San Antonio
UT-Arlington

West
Cal State-Bakersfield
Idaho
San Jose State
Seattle
Utah State
Utah Valley

Should those UVU and CSUB not be invited (again), it would give the WAC 10 teams, with a potential division split that might look like this:

East
Louisiana Tech
New Mexico State
Texas State
UT-San Antonio
UT-Arlington

West
Denver
Idaho
San Jose State
Seattle
Utah State

Also to be noted is that any additions would likely be for the 2013-14 season with the WAC's July 1st add/drop date has already passed.

You can view the PDF of the UT Board of Regents agenda here: http://www.utsystem.edu/bor/AgendaBook/July11/7-11AB.pdf (Item 5 on page one)

UT-Arlington also did a feasibility study in 2005 regarding the re-addition of football (which was disbanded in 1985). You can view that report here: http://www.uta.edu/sportsexpansion. Keep in mind that this study was done six years ago and also it was done with UTA projecting membership at the FCS level not the FBS level (fewer scholarships, support staff, facility requirements, etc).

Comments

UT Arlington

The critical date is not the WAC's, but is the Southland's exit date. Southland rules require two years notice to avoid a $250,000 penalty. (see story http://www.southland.org/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=18400&ATCLID=205039491) Both Texas State and UTSA had to pay that.

The last few pages of the Regents' agenda discuss sources of funding for Southland exit and WAC entrance costs, and that the entry to the WAC would be in fall 2012 (page 15). It appears they believe that paying the penalty is worth the difference in conferences.

The addition of UT Arlington would bring the WAC up to at least 7 members in all sports but women's gymnastics; Cal State Fullerton's discontinuation of that sport leaves the WAC with only five schools, Utah State, Idaho, Denver and affiliates Southern Utah and Cal State Sacramento. The only sport with an NCAA conference membership requirement greater than six schools is FBS football.

A ten-team conference might look like this for basketball/volleyball traveling partners: Seattle-San Jose, Idaho-Utah State, NMSU-Denver, Louisiana Tech-UTA, UTSA-Texas State. (Could be Seattle-Idaho, Utah State-San Jose State.)

Interesting that you mention

Interesting that you mention Fullerton discontinuing gymnastics, apparently Boise State petitioned the WAC to keep their gymnastics team in the WAC but the WAC declined.

I think all the conferences use the same exit date of June 30 (which is why all the new conference realignments were "celebrated" on July 1st because they became official).

Following up on WAC gymnastics

Not sure if Boise's request to remain in the WAC for gymnastics came before Cal State Fullerton dropped the sport on April 8. There are not many options for affiliate members: other than the members of the Pac 12 and the WAC and its current affiliates, women's gymnastics is sponsored by five schools. They are Air Force, Alaska-Anchorage, Boise State, Brigham Young and UC Davis.