Wither the Western Athletic Conference, again?
Denver is expected to continue its musical chairs routine of realignment when it announces they will be leaving the WAC for the Summit League in 2013. For those keeping track that will be three conferences in three years for the Pioneers, who competed in the Sun Belt last season before heading to the WAC this year.
As of now that will leave just five schools in the conference come July 1, 2013. New Mexico State and Idaho (who is leaving for the Big Sky in 2014) are the elder statesmen of the league having joined in 2005, Seattle joined this season and Utah Valley and Cal-State Bakersfield will join the conference in 2013.
In order for a conference to keep its automatic qualifying status they must have at least seven members, this leaves the WAC three members short. When Utah Valley announced they were joining the WAC, rumors swirled that the conference may also invite Chicago State and Texas Pan-American to join them.
Both schools offered non-denials concerning the situation.
Chicago State AD Daniel Schumacher said, “There are many discussions involving Chicago State and conference affiliation but we are unable to specifically comment on any of them.” And Texas-Pan American SID Jonah Goldberg said, “We continue to monitor the landscape of conference realignment and have taken a proactive approach to provide our student-athletes and coaches with an opportunity for NCAA postseason competition and conference rivalries.”
So what will Denver’s latest move mean for the remaining schools in the WAC? Are they scrambling to find homes? Does the WAC have a plan to get to the magical number seven members?
According to Seattle’s Athletic Director Bill Hogan it is the latter, “Seattle University remains committed to the Western Athletic Conference. The WAC has added two schools recently, Utah Valley University and CSU Bakersfield, and plans are in the works to add a few more schools in order to maintain the automatic qualifying status of the conference.”
Cal State Bakersfield seems to agree with AD Jeff Konya saying, “Conference realignment is in flux but the WAC has a course of action to remain a viable and desired conference solution.”
The conference announced on Tuesday that Grand Canyon University will be joining the conference in 2013
Right now the remaining teams are steadfast in their commitment to the WAC, but a lot can change in seven months. I’m sure we haven’t heard the last from the turnstile that is the Western Athletic Conference.