Dixie State To Explore Joining The WAC
ST. GEORGE, Utah – In 2006, Dixie State University made the jump from junior college to Division II. Now 13 years later, the Trailblazers want to continue jumping. Dixie State has released a feasibility study to determine if moving up to Division I would be the right move at this time.
The feasibility study came about after the Western Athletic Conference reached out to Dixie State about the potential interest in joining.
“They’re reaching out to many schools as they need to grow,” said Dixie State Athletic Director Jason Boothe. “We felt it was in our best interest to explore it. We felt this is a great opportunity for us, but unless we explored it, we would be making an uneducated decision, either way.”
Boothe feels that a move to division one will not only be a benefit to Dixie State athletically and academically, but the the city of St. George and southern Utah as a whole.
“As the university is growing and the St. George community is growing, we feel that being a Division I institution is a logical step for us,” said Boothe.
“[The move] eliminates any potential perceived barriers students – just general students – may have about what Dixie State is,” Boothe said. “As a young, growing institution, our academic programs are very strong, very viable, this eliminates any barrier. Being a Division II school doesn’t have anything to do with the academic success of our school – but it does put us on the same level as them.”
Dixie State currently offers 15 sports, six men’s and nine women’s programs which already meet the minimum 14 spots required to be a member of a division 1 program. However, for membership into the WAC, one of two things needs to happen: 1) football becomes a sport that is sponsored by the WAC; or 2) Dixie State would need to add a men’s sport to meet the WAC entry requirements.
“Our facilities are one of the strongest things for us to make a move,” said Boothe. “We don’t have to add anything to our facilities.”
“The natural rivalries we’ll have in the state, automatically, with SUU and Weber [State] in the Big Sky Conference – as well as UVU in the WAC, we’ll be playing them all the time,” Boothe added. “Playing [these schools] on a much more regular basis will bring more attention, focus, and notoriety to Dixie State and all we have to offer here athletically and academically.”
The Board Of Trustees will meet November 30th to discuss the move.
If invited, Dixie State would begin WAC membership with provisional status starting July 1, 2020.
Dixie State has scheduled three town hall meetings to discuss the option: November 6th with the student body, November 7th with faculty and staff, and November 7th for the community.
Click here to read the entire feasibility study.