|(above) Goodbye WAC...|
As conference realignment has unfolded the University of Denver Athletic Department appears to be without a conference home and the prospects look bleak. First several Western Athletic Conference brethren departed the league, and now conference disintegrating all together appears to be a near certainty.
The University of Idaho - a school that makes up one of just two football-playing programs in the WAC, and is part of the league's five-team Olympic-sports contingency - is expected to announce its independence in football for the 2013 season, while also seeking permission to approach the Big Sky Conference on possible membership, during a meeting with the Idaho State Board of Education Friday.
Boise State - also a current WAC non-football member - is expected to join the Big West Conference in the near future, which would leave the WAC with just three athletics programs - Denver, Seattle and NMSU - for the 2013 campaign. In essence, the three remaining schools are left holding the bag, as the WAC's options as a non-football league would be on life support.
The WAC has not added schools to it's non-football model to this point - programs such as Cal-State Bakersfield, Utah Valley and Texas Pan-American all seemed like possible candidates, although nothing came to fruition.
Last month saw league commissioner Jeff Hurd all but confirm the conference would not sponsor football for the 2013 season, and now there are questions if the WAC can hold together if it fell to a three-team membership.
"It would leave the WAC in jeopardy," Hurd said. "I don't think there's any question."
There was conversation about the WAC and the Big Sky forming a partnership to combine some sports affiliates, although Hurd characterized those discussions as "up and down."
"They lost momentum, then gained some momentum. If I spoke on it today, it's lost some momentum again," Hurd said, adding that the Big Sky "held the cards" in such negotiations.
DU's options would continue to shrink - the school has already been shunned by the West Coast Conference, Mountain West, and could be out of luck with the Big Sky now as well.