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WAC Commish Talks Expansion

Category: Featured News, WAC Expansion & Realignment

According to Karl Benson, the WAC might be expanding by 4 schools on June 14th.

He is not releasing any specifics on the schools, meaning it is unknown if the potential invites would be football or non-football schools. Lamar is the only football school that has not flat-out rejected the WAC thus far. An early target, Montana, passed on the WAC already. Other schools expressing interest in FBS football are Jacksonville St. and Appalachian St. But neither school has even finalized plans to upgrade.

Western located FCS football schools such as Sacramento St., Cal Poly, UC Davis and Portland St. have also opted to remain in FCS at this time.

So unless something drastic has changed with those FCS schools, Lamar remains the only real option as a potential football member. there has been some recent talk that with the UTSA and Texas St. Southland departures, and with Lamar seeming close behind, that Sam Houston St. might finally be willing to make the move to FBS as well…as they have toyed with the ideal the past decade.

It’s just as likely that the WAC will opt to invite non-football members to help stabilize the conferences footprint.

Schools considered on the WAC radar include Seattle, Utah Valley, and Cal St. Bakersfield. With the recent push into Texas with UTSA and Texas St., it’s also possible that non-football Southland schools such as Texas-Arlington could be considered. Great West members Houston Baptist and Texas-Pan American as well.

If four schools are indeed invited, all signs point to the possibility of them being:

1) Lamar: will add an 8th football school and 9th all-sports member
2) Seattle: would be the 10th member but without football; Would provide some access to the Seattle market; close to WAC member Idaho
3) Utah Valley: would be the 11th member, without football. A travel partner for Utah St.
4a) SHSU: would be the 12th member, with football as the 9th member. Woudl allow best geographic division alignment for non-football sports.
4b) CSU Bakersfield: would be the 12th member, without football; Located close enough to SJSU

The other option, and one many football fans might prefer, would be if Lamar and Sam Houston St. both join for football/all-sports, with Seattle and Utah Valley for non-football sports. It would bring the total football membership to 9, with 12 for other sports. While there might not be divisions, the opportunity would exist for non-football sports:

LA Tech
Texas St.

* Seattle
Utah St.
* Utah Valley
* Denver

Clearly, these programs would would benefit financially with the limited travel costs. It would not be surprising to see for sports like basketball, a schedule with home and home matchups for division foes (10 games total), single annual games against (4) opposite division schools, and as part of the rotation, a home-and-home with (2) opposite division schools. This would bring the basketball total conference schedule to 18 games per school.

Update: 5/9/11:

Shared from someone at Please visit for more specifics:

Rob Spear was on KIDO yesterday and he said this about the recent meetings.

1 – The WAC 5 don’t want to add more SW schools (no to Lamar & Sam Houston State) unless there are Western / NW additions too.

2 – There are more than 3 FCS schools in the SW that want to move up and that would jump at the opportunity.

3 – The WAC has until the 2014 season to add more football schools. The WAC is looking for NW /Western members 1st.

4 – Montana, Montana State, Portland State and Cal Poly have an open invitation to join the WAC until 2014. All of those schools are still in play. There were other schools that would fit ( those are the ones that were mentioned). Montana and MSU will be a package deal if/when they jump. They both need to find money to move up. One immediate benefit of being FBS vs FCS is that money games become much larger at FBS level ie – Montana is playing Tennessee this year and is receiving $350K. If UM was FBS that number would jump to $900 – $1 million.

5 – The best case for the future WAC is to have North – South or East – West Divisions. If that happened and if there were enough schools the 2 divisions could eventually become 2 seperate conferences.

New Revenue for the Non-AC conferences:

6 – The +1 BCS model (after all of the BCS Bowls have been played ) would add another $100 Million to the BCS and a significant amount of that money should be distributed to the non-AC conferences. Right now the BCS gets $125 million under the current system.

7 – The Non-AC conferences may band together for a TV package that would increase revenue to the member schools (MAC, WAC, Sunbelt). The MWC has a decent package right now.

8 – The WAC may look at other TV packages and needs to be creative. ESPN provides exposure but doesn’t do much on the revenue side. Playing games on Friday and Sunday would be something the WAC may look at doing during negotiations. I believe he said that CBS and Comcast may be better alternatives than ESPN monetarily.

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  • This is Good. They need to make a wise choose. I hope it’s four football schools. But is their four deserving football schools out there?

  • Kro

    Benson’s just digging himself into a deeper hole.

  • I know its an option but I can’t imagine that Cal St Bakerfield would opt to join the WAC when UCSD is in the process of upgrading, and both could join the Big West in a few years thus keeping the voting between the Cal and Cal St schools even and getting it to the ideal number of 12.

    If Jacksonville St or App St end up joining the WAC, the conference will offically be just an upgraded version of the Great West. As if LA Tech and the TX schools weren’t already pushing it, if they keep moving East they might as well give up and invite Longwood and New Jersey Tech along for the ride too…

  • Other schools that Karl Benson should consider to help stabilize the WAC, include:

    Linfield (Division III) – Would consider moving up but only if travel partner Pacific Lutheran receives invitation. Delivers the important Portland television market.

    Bellingham Technical College (Junior College) – Would need to start a football program and add upper division courses and majors. These issues are not insurmountable for the WAC. Delivers the special Whatcom County television market.

    Mater Dei (High School) – High power, nationally known football program. Is exploring moving to the college ranks. WAC interested as conference gain access to the all important California recruiting market. Delivers the really important Orange County television market.

    Would someone just put the WAC out of its misery already?

  • I wouldn’t rule out Jacksonville State joining along with Lamar or without Lamar i believe Benson is a fan of the 9/12 format and adding Seattle, Utah Valley/CSBakersfield along with Lamar and Jacksonville state will accomplish this.

  • I’m not sure who needs each other more. The WAC needs more schools to try to become stable, but those schools may need a conference worse. The number of independent and Great West schools will probably go down here shortly.


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