Big Sky Considering WAC Takeover?
First, Idaho AD Rob Spears, has made it clear that Idaho and the Big Sky have indeed had discussions, but they involved Idaho joining the Big Sky for non-football sports. In other words, Idaho would not be downgrading to FCS and would remain in FBS.
But it’s a recent radio interview by Big Sky commissioner Doug Fullerton that really has people scratching their heads.
Fullerton has hinted that the Big Sky might take a more proactive role in regards to the WAC, considering a move that would partially absorb the WAC into the Big Sky. The idea would have some current Big Sky schools moving to the WAC in order for the WAC to retain their NCAA auto bid.
The idea is an interesting one. If the Big Sky were to simply absorb all WAC members, it would mean quite a large conference, adding 4-5 new schools to a 13 school conference. That would mean 17-18 schools fighting it out for a single at-large NCAA bid. But in moving a few schools over to the WAC, it would mean (2) NCAA bids for the 17-18 total schools.
So for basketball, there would be two conferences. For football, there would be one. And for some of the other sports, when there are not enough members to have (2) conferences, there would be one.
For an idea of how things might look, you would have your existing (5) WAC schools (assuming Boise St. does not join the Big West), moving over a handful of schools to balance out membership.
* Boise State
* New Mexico State
This is still just an idea, not something that has been finalized, and for good reason. You’ll have schools that might not want to be split from others. For instance, is Northern Arizona going to want to be in a conference that spreads from Las Cruces, NM to Seattle, with nearby Southern Utah in a different conference?
The idea is strong, it just needs some time to see if it could actually work. But any opportunity to secure (2) NCAA bids would be a huge plus. Safety also comes into play…and if a school or schools were to leave the WAC, the Big Sky would be able to just absorb the remaining schools in the WAC.
For a look at how these schools would generally play out on a map. visit the NCAA Map: