WAC Addresses Conference Expansion
At its annual meeting this past week, the Western Athletic Conference Board of Directors approved several sports-related issues. The Board also discussed conference realignment opportunities and the nation’s changing landscape.
“The WAC Board of Directors continues to aggressively evaluate membership options,” WAC Interim Commissioner Jeff Hurd said. “We remain confident in the league’s future and will continue to survey and discuss several options.”
In other action at the Board of Directors meeting:
The Board extended Hurd’s contract through the 2012-13 academic year.
New Mexico State President Barbara Couture was named the chair of the Board of Directors for the 2012-13 academic year. Other Executive Board members will be Idaho President Duane Nellis and University of Denver Chancellor Robert Coombe.
It was determined that the men’s and women’s basketball tournament will return to Las Vegas and the Orleans Arena for the 2012-13 season. The Board approved inviting all 10 men’s and women’s teams to the tournament, which will be held March 12-16, 2013.
The Board also determined that the 2013 WAC Baseball Tournament will be held at QuikTrip Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. The tournament field will increase from six to eight teams.
The 2012 WAC Volleyball Tournament, which will be held Nov. 19-21, at UTSA, will be expanded to eight teams.
In other actions, the Board approved the addition of three affiliate members. CSU Bakersfield and Northern Colorado will join the WAC in swimming and diving, while Boise State will join the league in gymnastics.
CSU Bakersfield continues to build on its momentum with Director of Swimming Chris Hansen in his second season at the helm. Hansen took over the program a year ago, a season in which Rachel McCall qualified for the Olympic Trials in her native Canada. Her 200 freestyle time (long course) at the Canadian Trials was a new school record and completed a year for her in which she earned first team all-conference honors and was an CoSIDA Academic all-district selection. The Roadrunners broke three school records a year ago. With a full season of recruiting, Hansen will have 20 newcomers coming into the program.
In the past three seasons, the Northern Colorado swimming and diving team has posted more than 80 top 10 times/scores to the school’s top 10 lists, including two school records during the 2011-12 season (platform diving, 800 freestyle relay). Diving has been one of the bright spots for the Bears, as eight of the top 10 one-meter scores and nine of the top 10 three-meter scores have come during head coach Kelly McClanahan’s time at the helm. The top five platform dives have also come in the past three years. In addition, the Bears return two-time all-conference selection Courtney Van Oost, who currently ranks in the top three in school history in five individual events (200 free, 100 back, 200 back, 200 IM, 400 IM) and is a member of two school-record relay teams.
The 2012 Boise State gymnastics team competed in their first non-conference season since 1994, ending a reign of conference titles in the record books. Although they were independent, the 2012 Broncos were as successful as ever, rewriting school record books, competing well in the postseason and ranking in the nation’s top 20 throughout the season. BSU gymnastics was a member of the WAC from 1991-93 and from 2006-11.
The new affiliate members will join the WAC in their respective sports for the 2012-13 season.