ESPN: Southern Utah, Utah Tech Part Of New Conference Attempting Move To FBS

Dec 9, 2022, 4:07 PM


Southern Utah vs. Utah Tech football in 2022 (Courtesy of SUU Athletics)

(Courtesy of SUU Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Southern Utah Thunderbirds and Utah Tech Trailblazers are among programs from the Western Athletic Conference that plan to merge into one league with teams from the Atlantic Sun in an attempt to move up to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), according to ESPN‘s Pete Thamel.

The college football insider reported the merger on Friday, December 9.

“The remaining football members of the Atlantic Sun and WAC have agreed to align to form the foundation of a 10-member football-only conference, sources told ESPN, with the intention of becoming the 11th FBS conference,” Thamel reported.

SUU and Utah Tech are among the 10 Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) schools that have “signed on to join the league.”

Per Thamel’s sources, the new conference aspires to jump “from what is currently known as FCS football to what is currently known as FBS football at the earliest practicable date.”

The new league is reportedly known as “ASUN-WAC Football” in founding documents but will have a new name in the future.

New WAC-ASUN Football Conference

  • Western Athletic Conference
    • Stephen F. Austin
    • Abilene Christian
    • Utah Tech
    • Southern Utah
    • Tarleton State
  • Atlantic Sun Conference
    • Austin Peay
    • Eastern Kentucky
    • Central Arkansas
    • North Alabama

UT Rio Grande Valley is starting a football program and is expected to join the league in 2025.

The WAC-ASUN schools have reportedly signed a “multi-party term sheet agreement” committing them to the conference. Part of the agreement highlights the league’s goal to “immediately explore expansion opportunities.”

“Of note here: The agreement includes the goal to “immediately explore expansion opportunities,” sources said. League officials have begun early conversations with at least four other high-profile FCS football programs, sources said,” Thamel tweeted.

Currently, the FBS has 10 conferences. The WAC-ASUN merger would be the 11th FBS league if elevated from the FCS ranks.

According to the NCAA handbook, “Before a [FCS] institution may apply for reclassification for the [FBS] the institution must receive a bona fide invitation for membership from a [FBS] conference or a conference that previously met the definition of a FBS conference.”

The Beehive State currently features three FCS programs in Southern Utah, Utah Tech, and Weber State. The state’s current FBS programs are BYU, Utah, and Utah State.

RELATED: Utah Tech Wins Second Straight Game In Shootout With Southern Utah

If the new conference reaches the FBS and doesn’t include Weber State in its expansion, the Wildcats would join the Snow College Badgers as the only football programs in the state of Utah to not play in the FBS. Weber State currently competes as a member of the FCS’ Big Sky Conference. Snow is part of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).

Utah Valley (Division I), Westminster (Division II), Utah State Eastern (NJCAA), and Salt Lake Community College (NJCAA) don’t compete in football.

The Thunderbirds finished their 2022 football schedule with a 5-8 record. Utah Tech went 4-7.

College Football

BYU Football, Sale Fano, Westlake High Commit...

Mitch Harper

Westlake Edge Rusher Sale Fano Commits To BYU Football

BYU picks up a commitment from a Westlake High School prospect.

21 hours ago


Ralph D. Russo, AP

NCAA Votes To Accept $2.8 Billion Settlement That Could Change College Sports

The NCAA and Big Ten Conference leadership approved a $2.8 billion settlement of antitrust claims Wednesday.

2 days ago


Michelle Bodkin

Former Utah Football Player Greg Newman Has Passed Away, Family Raising Funds To Study CTE

Former Utah football standout defensive lineman Greg Newman has passed away according to a GoFundMe put out by his family.

2 days ago


Michelle Bodkin

Time, Network Announced For Utah Football Season Finale Against UCF

Utah football just released the time and network for their last game of the 2024 season against the UCF Knights.

3 days ago

BYU Football, Greatest Players, Ty Detmer...

Mitch Harper

BYU Football’s 100 Greatest Players Of All-Time: Nos. 1-25

The best of the best from BYU football.

3 days ago

Utah Football Fan Guide...

Michelle Bodkin

Social Media Notes Utah Football Is 100 Days Out From 2024 Season

May 21, 2024, marks 100 days until Utah football is back in action at Rice-Eccles Stadium to kick off their 2024 college football season.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @kslsports...

KSL Give-A-Thon

The KSL Sports Zone, KSL 5 TV, FM100.3, 103.5 The Arrow, and KSL NewsRadio have teamed up to raise money for the kids being served by Primary Children’s Care!


KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.


KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.

ESPN: Southern Utah, Utah Tech Part Of New Conference Attempting Move To FBS