Specifically, the rule that they must have the football members in 6 conference mens sports.
Who would have thunk it?
A quick investigation shows that this is a serious issue for the 2005 WAC.
The WAC offers 8 mens sports, but none of the 9 schools play all 8.
All of the 9 schools do play the I-A school-required 6 NCAA mens sports (some outside the WAC)
WAC schools per sport:
basketball – 9
football – 9
golf – 9
baseball – 6 (not Boise, UTEP, UT ST)
cross country – 6 (not Fresno, HI, NV)
tennis – 6 (not SJ ST, UTEP, LA Tech)
outdoor track – 5 (not HI, NV, SJ ST, NM ST)
indoor track – 4 (not Fresno, HI, NV, SJ ST, NM ST)
WAC sports per school:
Boise – 7 (not baseball)
LA tech – 7 (not tennis)
UT ST – 7 (not baseball)
Fresno – 6 (not XC, indoor) [both cut in summer 2003 for budget issues]
UTEP – 6 (not baseball, tennis)
NM ST – 6 (not indoor, outdoor)
HI – 5 (not XC, indoor, outdoor)
NV – 5 (not XC, indoor, outdoor)
SJ ST – 5 (not tennis, indoor, outdoor)
Problem #1: 3 schools are only in 5 WAC sports. 6 WAC sports are required for the school to be considered a conference member.
HI & NV can fix that by adding XC. It’s one of the cheapest NCAA sports, and since they already have Women’s XC, so set up time should be minimal. Title XI is always an issue, but we’re not talking football here, so the ramifications of adding the sport is probably minimal.
SJ ST is in a tougher spot, since their “missing” sports are all more costly than XC. Given that they would probably have to add womens track teams too (they don’t have them, unlike the other 8 schools), tennis seems their only option. They already have a womens tennis team, so they must have the facilities, but their budget problems are well known, even if the Title XI issues are minimal given the athletes involved (10 or so). This means their mens soccer team, a Mountain Pacific Sports member, could still end up the fall guy to the old “Title XI” excuse to cover a budget problem.
Problem #2: The track programs don’t have the required 6 participants to qualify as a NCAA conference sport.
Losing those sports means the WAC only has 6 sports available, which means:
HI & NV have to add XC (listed above), and so does Fresno
SJ ST has to add tennis (listed above), and so does UTEP and LA Tech
Boise, UTEP and UT ST have to add baseball.
XC may be cheap and, to a degree, so is tennis (since they all have womens teams already), but baseball is not.
No one is going to want to add that team if at all possible (Boise doesn’t even have softball).
This means they need to keep both track teams.
The easiest solution is:
1. Get Fresno to add indoor track. They already have outdoor track and both womens track, so it would seem easy to do. But is there budget good enough to allow it?
= 5 indoor teams and 5 outdoor teams
2. Add another school that has both track sports. Idaho seems to be the only football-playing option, but the I-A rule doesn’t say that all 6 participants in each WAC sport must play football, just that all football schools play in 6 WAC sports.
Problem #3: If LA Tech leaves, baseball, and the track teams (if fixed as above) are left with only 5 participants each.
Idaho doesn’t play baseball, so they wouldn’t have helped the cause there.
Once again, they would need to find someone to sign up that has those 3 sports, or get some members to add sports again.