WAC Announces Plan To Reinstate Football, Expand Conference
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – It’s official. The WAC (Western Athletic Conference) announced plans to reinstate football along with a plan to expand the conference.
The announcement was expected and first reported on July, 6 by Pete Thamel.
Sources: The WAC plans to announce on Jan. 14 at NRG Stadium in Houston the formation of its FCS league, which starts play in football in 2022. The initial 7 WAC members: Abilene Christian, Lamar, Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin. Southern Utah, Tarleton State and Dixie State. 1/2
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) January 6, 2021
The WAC board of directors issued invitations to five universities. All of the invitations were accepted and go into effect on July 1, 2022. The football league will begin at the start of the ball season in 2022.
Four of the five new schools are in Texas, the outlier is Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah.
“The additions will create a 13-team conference that will be divided into two divisions for team sports other than football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball. One division will consist of the Texas-based institutions including current WAC members Tarleton State University and The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. The other division will include Southern Utah along with Dixie State University, New Mexico State University, Grand Canyon University, California Baptist University, Seattle University and Utah Valley University,” explained a release from the conference.
The news you've all been waiting for! Welcome to the WAC – Abilene Christian University (@ACUsports), Lamar University (@LamarAthletics), Sam Houston State University (@BearkatSports), Southern Utah University (@SUUThunderbirds) and Stephen F. Austin University (@SFA_Athletics). pic.twitter.com/HgEeq81059
— The Western Athletic Conference (@WACsports) January 14, 2021
The new members, along with Dixie State and Tarleton, will give the WAC seven full-time members that play in, or are transitioning to, the Football Championship Subdivision. The conference expects to add at least one more football-playing program.
“I cannot overstate my level of excitement in making this expansion announcement,” said WAC Commisioner Jeff Hurd, “The opportunity to bring five quality institutions into the conference, to significantly strengthen the WAC’s national basketball brand and other championship sport profiles, and to bring football back under the WAC umbrella is one that made sense.”