ESPN: DU To Join The WAC Tomorrow

(above) is reporting that the WAC will announce that DU is joining tomorrow

by Andy Katz

The University of Denver, Texas-San Antonio and Texas State will join the WAC in 2012-13 to offset the departures of Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada to the Mountain West, multiple sources told

UTSA, which still needs official approval from the board of regents, and Texas State will join in all sports. Denver will join for all sports except for football, since the Pioneers don't play at the FBS level.

The WAC will have eight football members, nine for men's and women's basketball. The WAC would have had six members in 2012-13 if nothing had been done with Hawaii, Louisiana Tech, Idaho, New Mexico State, Utah State and San Jose State.

An announcement is expected from the WAC on Thursday.

Montana could also join the WAC in all sports, especially if the Grizzlies decide to bump up from FCS to FBS in football. Montana, a FCS power, is expected to make a decision in the next few weeks. If the Grizzlies decide against the move then Seattle would likely step in with all sports except football.

The WAC's perfect scenario, according to multiple sources, is to get to nine football schools, including Montana and 10 basketball schools.

UTSA will start its football program as an FCS Independent in 2011. UTSA won't be in the Southland Conference in football that season. UTSA is then expected to make the jump to FBS football in 2012. UTSA will play in the Alamo Dome, home to the Alamo Bowl.

Texas State and UTSA will leave the Southland Conference and pay an estimated $250,000 per school exit fee. Denver, which has been in the Sun Belt since 1999-2000, won't have a penalty for leaving, according to sources.

The WAC's automatic berth to the NCAA tournament wasn't in jeopardy since the league had until 2014 to get to seven members.

The WAC was prepared to add BYU to its membership for all sports but football in late August before the MWC invited Fresno State and Nevada to block the move. BYU went independent in football but then chose to put the rest of its sports in the WCC.

Fresno State and Nevada wanted to leave the WAC for next season but struck a deal to stay until June 30, 2012, in exchange for paying a lower exit fee of $900,000 per school.


dggoddard said...

So DU joins Hawaii, Louisiana Tech, Idaho, New Mexico State, Utah State, San Jose State, Texas-San Antonio and Texas State. In all likelihood Montana jumps on board as well.

Road trips to Hawaii to watch DU teams play seem like a fun idea.

Texas State located in San Marcos and San Antonio would be fun road trips as well.

Idaho for skiing and side trips to San Fran from San Jose wouldn't suck either.

Anonymous said...

This is so huge. I was thinking DU was going to have to win the Sun Belt in order to get this bid, but I guess not. Hopefully they win the Sub Belt anyways!

DUcub2611 said...

Great news for the Pios. Best possible outcome.

Puck Swami said...

If true, this is antastic news for DU fans who have been wishing for more regionally relevant all sports conference. This kind of thing doesn't happen without a ton of hard work by a lot folks in the DU athletic dept as well as board members and other big wigs. DU is headed in the right direction, and this new conference will generate more interest here than the Sun Belt.

dggoddard said...

The only thing that would make this bigger would be to bring a formerly beloved mascot back officially.

You know send a signal that its no longer business as usual and that the opinions of the fans, students, athletes & alumni are important. :-)

Aluuum said...

D.G. We already took a big step in that direction by killing the chicken. We are half way there. Stay the course.

UDenver20 said...

Agreed completely... Kudos to DU's administration... Seriously, great job...

This move also confirms DU's commitment to an All D1 program for the forseeable future.

The ball is in your court, Coach Scott...

dggoddard said...

There was a rumor that BYU wanted DU as a travel partner in the West Coact Conference. The WCC would consist of Portland, Santa Clara, San Diego, Gonzaga, Pepperdine, St. Marys, Loyola-Marymount, San Francisco & BYU.

With the California economy in chaos, tying DU to private schools that are sure to be feeling the financial squeeze in upcoming years may not have been the best strategy anyway.

Time will tell.

puck swami said...

Without football, there is no perfect conference answer for DU, which is essentially has an East Coast-style sports menu in a relatively isolated part of the country.

The WCC schools all look like DU in terms of size and private status, but the reluctance of those schools to want to travel to Denver tells you that they will be in belt-tightening mode for a while. BYU may not stay in the WCC for very long either, given they may be a PAC-10 school someday.

Frankly, the WAC is not exactly rock solid either, but it's a better option than the Big Sky.

Anonymous said...

Hunting around a bit this morning, I found that the average basketball attendance in the WAC last year was just over 5,000. The Sun Belt was 2,400. This piece alone is a step up. Granted, Fresno, Boise and Nevada are leaving, but Nevada was the only of those three that had strong basketball attendance. New Mexico State and Utah State, the two closest WAC members to DU, draw nearly 10,000 per game....

puck swami said...

If DU can get to 4,000 fans per game in men's hoops, they start making money. Right now, it's about 2,000 per game.

Just with the visiting WAC team's local fan bases here in Denver, I could see attendence moving over 3,000 per game, and if DU continues to rise in hoops, I could see another 1,000 Denver fans coming out, which would bring you close to that 4,000 average.

DU will also get a larger conference payout in the WAC vs the Sun Belt, and travel costs should be somewhat reduced as well.