Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Sources: Three teams to join WAC
By Andy Katz
The University of Denver, Texas-San Antonio and Texas State will join the WAC in 2012-13 to offset the departures of Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada to the Mountain West, multiple sources told ESPN.com.
UTSA, which still needs official approval from the board of regents, and Texas State will join in all sports. Denver will join for all sports except for football, since the Pioneers don't play at the FBS level.
The WAC will have eight football members, nine for men's and women's basketball. The WAC would have had six members in 2012-13 if nothing had been done, with Hawaii, Louisiana Tech, Idaho, New Mexico State, Utah State and San Jose State.
An announcement is expected from the WAC on Thursday.
Montana could also join the WAC in all sports, especially if the Grizzlies decide to bump up from FCS to FBS in football. Montana, a FCS power, is expected to make a decision in the next few weeks. If the Grizzlies decide against the move then Seattle would likely step in with all sports except football.
The WAC's perfect scenario, according to multiple sources, is to get to nine football schools, including Montana, and 10 basketball schools.
UTSA will start its football program as an FCS independent in 2011. UTSA won't be in the Southland Conference in football that season. UTSA is then expected to make the jump to FBS football in 2012. UTSA will play in the Alamo Dome, home to the Alamo Bowl.
Texas State and UTSA will leave the Southland Conference and pay an estimated exit fee of $250,000 per school. Denver, which has been in the Sun Belt since 1999-2000, won't have a penalty for leaving, according to sources.
The WAC's automatic berth to the NCAA tournament wasn't in jeopardy since the league had until 2014 to get to seven members.
The WAC was prepared to add BYU to its membership for all sports except football in late August before the MWC's invitation to Fresno State and Nevada blocked the move. BYU went independent in football but then chose to put the rest of its sports in the WCC.
Fresno State and Nevada wanted to leave the WAC next season but struck a deal to stay until June 30, 2012, in exchange for paying a lower exit fee of $900,000 per school.
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.