New rules protect WAC auto bids
Conference to retain bids during 2012 transition period
DENVER -- At the NCAA convention held last week in San Antonio, new legislation was passed establishing conference membership based on the qualifications of a league's members instead of the continuity requirements currently in place. This legislation ensures that the Western Athletic Conference will retain its automatic bids to NCAA tournaments in all sports when it goes through a transition period in 2012 due to previously announced membership changes.
The new rules basically stipulate that a conference must have seven active Division I members that sponsor men's and women's basketball and that the conference sponsor a minimum of six men's sports and six women's sports.
The WAC's membership for the 2012-13 season will include current members Idaho, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State and Utah State along with three new members announced last year: Denver (non-football), Texas State and UTSA. These eight schools ensure that the WAC meets the new NCAA Division I membership requirements as the conference moves forward.
On the football side, the new legislation also clarifies when current FCS schools Texas State and UTSA become full-fledged FBS members. Texas State begins its transition with the 2011 season and will count as an FBS opponent in 2012 (its first in the WAC) and will be a full-fledged FBS member and bowl eligible in 2013. UTSA follows one year later.
Commissioner Karl Benson also stated that the WAC is still evaluating potential candidates for further expansion in 2012 that include both football and non-football members.
"While we were expecting this outcome," said Benson, "WAC coaches can now guarantee prospective student-athletes that the WAC will continue with all of its previous automatic bids in all the sports the WAC sponsors."