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Wednesday, June 16, 2010
WCC not looking to expand -- for now

By Diamond Leung

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. -- With expansion fever in the air, the West Coast Conference has largely stayed out the conversation. After all, only one of its eight schools fields a football team, with San Diego playing in the non-scholarship Pioneer Football League.

But the basketball-driven WCC did discuss the expansion issue, and a task force involving university presidents decided in March not to pursue another member at this time, according to commissioner Jamie Zaninovich.

That means Seattle, which currently competes as a Division I independent in basketball, will have to wait. The school was a member of the WCC from 1971-80 and is currently completing the transition phase back into Division I.

"We went through an expansion process and decided not to expand right now short of something game-changing in the environment, which hasn't happened," Zaninovich said after Wednesday's Collegiate Commissioners Association meetings.

"Seattle, we play them in a lot of sports, and they're a school that I think if they grow competitively, then they will be viable in terms of the conversation for our conference. I don't think they're there yet. We've had conversations with them directly about that."

Seattle's basketball team behind coach Cameron Dollar and possible NBA draft pick Charles Garcia went 17-14 this season.

One question mark regarding adding the Redhawks to the conference might be how playing them twice per season could hurt the RPI for Gonzaga and other teams looking to make the NCAA tournament.

Seattle certainly showed signs of transitioning well this season with wins against such teams as Oregon State from the Pac-10 and Utah, which is expected to be the latest school to catch the fever.