WAC Grants Postseason Eligibility To Utah Tech Trailblazers

Jun 10, 2022, 2:41 PM
A Western Athletic Conference logo is shown on the court prior to the championship game of the Western Athletic Conference basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena on March 12, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Western Athletic Conference announced that its board of directors voted to allow Utah Tech University postseason eligibility beginning in the 2022-23 season.

The WAC shared the news on Friday, June 10.

In addition to Utah Tech, Tarleton State University, another new member of the conference, was granted the ability to participate in all of the WAC’s conference championships.

“It was important for our Board of Directors to show Tarleton and Utah Tech that the conference is committed to their cause,” WAC Commissioner Brian Thornton said in a statement. “The inclusion of the Texans and Trailblazers in all championships not only strengthens our league as a whole but provides a large group of student-athletes with a proper end-of-season experience.”

“Today is a banner day for Utah Tech University Athletics and all of our student-athletes,” Utah Tech athletic director Ken Beazer added.  “We are grateful for the unanimous support of the WAC Board of Directors in granting immediate access to all our sport teams to compete in Conference Championships.  We look forward to working with the Board, and all member institutions, as we collectively solidify the WAC’s brand amongst the NCAA’s elite DI conferences.”

Utah Tech recently completed its second season of a four-year transition to NCAA Division I status.

Dixie State University will officially become Utah Tech University in July.

In May, the league petitioned the NCAA to grant Dixie State Division I eligibility for postseason play beginning in the fall of 2022.

The conference shared a copy of its letter on social media and introduced the document with the following caption:

“The DI landscape is changing and the WAC is proud to stand behind our member institutions to make sure all student-athletes are treated fairly and rewarded for their accomplishments. While we have fought for our institutions in the past, we believe now is the time for action.”

The WAC opened its address by formally asking the NCAA to allow D-I eligibility for Dixie State and Tarleton State beginning in the fall.

“On behalf of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) this is meant to serve as a formal letter of support for requests from Dixie State University and Tarleton State University to be eligible to earn our Conference’s automatic qualification (AQ) into NCAA championships in all sports, effective with the 2022-23 academic year,” the league wrote.

The two programs were initially ineligible to participate in postseason tournaments as part of their leap to D-I competition.

Dixie State first announced the move to Division I in January 2019.

The Trailblazers began their transition to NCAA D-I status on July 1, 2020.

Dixie State became the eighth full member of the WAC.

“Several factors make Dixie State University a great fit for the WAC,” former WAC commissioner Jeff Hurd said following the Trailblazers’ original announcement in 2019. “Commitment to quality academics and athletics programs, along with the long-term vision that President Williams has for the University’s growth, are at the top of the list. I have no doubt that Dixie State will make a smooth transition to Division I and to the WAC.”

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