Friday, August 17, 2012

WAC Implosion Appears Imminent

(above) Goodbye WAC...
From: Las Cruces Sun 

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.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Disasterville. I have no idea where we go from here. Any chance we could go crawling back to the Sun Belt? I imagine the bridges are already burned there.

How about forming the NCNFC? National Collegiate Non Football Conference.

Anonymous said...

I am sure DU has been working every possible option.

Here are the most likely options and the chances of that happening:

1) WAC remnants (DU, Seattle, NMSU) add Utahe Valley, Cal-State Bakersfield and Texas Pan-American to WAC preserve NCAA auto-bid. This would be a holding strategy unitl DU can find a better option. Chance: 60%

2) WAC disintegrates completely. In this scenario, I think DU would probably get some Big Sky interest. Chance 30%

3) DU goes on the offensive and forms its own conference with other disgruntled privates. Some possibles mates here would be Seattle, Oral Roberts, Drake, Bradley and perhaps others. Chance: 9%

4) DU bites the bullet and joins the Patriot League offering travel subisidies to league members. Makes no geographic or travel sense, but it would put DU in solid academic company with like minded privates. DU is in the ECAC for Lax so there is precedent.
Chance: 1%

Anonymous said...

oh joy... Texas-Pan-American.

dggoddard said...

I'd put the odds at 66% WAC. And ask for an NCAA waiver for autobids which they might get as long as they are making a good faith effort to add schools.

33% go independent and hope something opens up in another conference.

1% join another conference within a year.

Anonymous said...

Why not the Summit? It's not ideal, but at least it's, more or less, a geographic fit. The Dakotas, Omaha, Kansas City... They currently have 9 teams, so adding one more would allow for traveling partners (Denver could match up with Omaha, for example).

Anonymous said...

Summit > Big Sky

Anonymous said...

Trade us right frickin now!
We need a new home, pronto!

Anonymous said...

"Trade us right f'ing now"

Best Let's Go DU comment of all time.

Anonymous said...

Creighton wants out of the MVC
DePaul wants out of the Big East
Seatlle wants out of the WAC
St. Louis may want out of the A-10

Add in DU and you've got five strong privates...

If you have all 5, it would be a great fit for DU...

Dunker said...

DG: Being independent would be division 1 death. Can't recruit w/o a chance for post season play. Our location puts us in a easily left out position. Tough travel. Hopefully some league wants Denver TV market which is larger then most.