WAC and UVU?

WARNER: Will the new-look WAC include UVU?

2012-05-08T10:15:00Z 2012-05-10T00:04:37Z WARNER: Will the new-look WAC include UVU?Neil K. Warner Daily Herald Daily Herald
May 08, 2012 10:15 am  • 

Last summer when the Western Athletic Conference presidents met to announce expansion plans, they turned down schools like Utah Valley University and Cal-State Bakersfield and instead chose to add Seattle University.

Now, less than a year later, the WAC has put up its help wanted sign again.

Last Friday, Utah State and San Jose State announced they were leaving to join the Mountain West Conference. ESPN cited multiple sources indicating that Louisiana Tech and UT-San Antonio are heading to Conference USA and Texas Arlington could be on its way to the Sun Belt.

Even the captain of the WAC, commissioner Karl Benson, jumped ship and took the same position in the Sun Belt Conference.

The WAC has now become like a fire drill. Everyone please proceed to the nearest exit.

With Utah State on its way out, UVU believes one of the roadblocks that kept the Wolverines from getting into the conference is gone.

"It definitely creates some space in the WAC for us and it eliminates some opposition that we've had," said UVU Athletic Director Mike Jacobsen. "This is still very important to the president of our university to the university and to me."

Jacobsen said he's not heard anything from the WAC, but expects the conference to respond soon with news about its future.

When the WAC does decide to fill its vacancies, the conference can be sure of one thing — UVU will show up.

The decisions to add Texas State and UT-San Antonio turned out to be disasters since they decided the WAC wasn't the answer. Both teams are like employees who got hired and quit before their first paycheck.

Now the WAC appears to be a conference on shaky ground, but Jacobsen doesn't believe the conference will fold, he just doesn't know if the new WAC will include UVU.

"I don't think there's any way the conference will fold and just go away, there's too much history. I think the WAC will continue to be a viable conference in the NCAA," Jacobsen said. "I think we fill every niche they need, but we have not yet been involved (in talks with the conference). I think in the past some of the school presidents were concerned with where our academics have been, but they don't understand where we are and where we're going."

If the WAC can keep Idaho and New Mexico State from bolting, this could still be a formidable conference. The conference would include: Seattle, Denver, New Mexico State, Idaho and Boise State (non-football) and the new additions that could include Utah Valley, Cal State-Bakersfield and Texas-Pan American.

Having an eight-team conference would be important because there is talk Boise State won't be in the WAC long for its other sports and Idaho and New Mexico State are trying to find a conference where they can play football in.

The continual shift of schools changing conferences can only be a good thing for UVU because in the game of conference musical chairs every school is trying to ensure it won't be the one left out.

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