Blog Entry

UTSA, TSU hope WAC likes the idea of 'Texpansion'

Posted on: September 20, 2010 8:49 pm

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Following the impending exodus of Nevada and Boise State, the WAC looks to be in dire straits; the most high-profile member remaining will be, like, Hawaii -- and that's not the football program it used to be by any stretch. But if the WAC's expecting great candidates to step forward to fill the voids being left, they're probably not going to be blown away by the schools presenting themselves to the WAC at a meeting later this month:

WAC commissioner Karl Benson said Texas State and UT-San Antonio will make presentations to the league's membership committee at its Sept. 28 meeting in Dallas. The membership committee is comprised of the athletic directors from the six remaining members of the WAC (Idaho, Hawaii, Louisiana Tech San Jose State, New Mexico State and Utah State).

Benson said he expects no decisions at the meeting.

On paper, the two schools are actually attractive targets. They're both on the high-population corridor of I-35 in Texas between Dallas and San Antonio, and their enrollment numbers are huge: TSU boasts over 32,000 students, and UTSA has over 28,000 of its own. Big schools with tepid academic standards and huge television markets? Again, on paper, decent fits.

What separates the schools, however, is the ability to invest heavily in athletics. UTSA has recently pushed forward with expansion plans in athletics, and they're starting a new football program next season with Larry Coker at the helm. Most notably, UTSA will be playing in the Alamadome, and having a high-profile stadium ready and waiting will be a huge boost for the young program -- especially if they want to join a conference that isn't, like, the Sun Belt. The real question, of course, is whether the program can be ready for WAC play by 2012, the date Benson set forth for getting back to eight members. Year 2 of play and already in FBS? Best of luck, sirs.

Texas State, meanwhile, is stuck in a 30-year-old, 15,000-seat stadium -- and their paltry $87 million endowment isn't going to be able to make much progress on that front. Sure, it's great that TSU wants to make the move up to I-A, but if they don't make the proper investments in the program and its infrastructure, they'll just be a farther-west version of Florida International or Western Kentucky: teams that jumped up a sub-division for no real reason.

At the end of the day, though, if the WAC says yes to either of these two schools, it won't be doing a whole lot to immediately rectify its new "have-not" status.


Since: Oct 6, 2011
Posted on: January 15, 2012 9:23 pm

UTSA, TSU hope WAC likes the idea of 'Texpansion'

IMO this is the time the WAC need to take advantage of this situation and send invites to Tulsa, UTEP, RICE, and Tulane.  This move would help mke the conference much better than it will be going forward. on the flip side, CUSA should not merge with the MWC, CUSA should stay as is and send invites to Temple, La Tech, Troy, W. Kentucky and Mid Tenn. State. FIU and FL Atlantic. Forming a 17-plus team leauge is not the answer, since there is a chance the BCS auto-qualifier status might go away.

Since: Sep 21, 2010
Posted on: September 21, 2010 1:43 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Feb 26, 2007
Posted on: September 21, 2010 1:03 pm

UTSA, TSU hope WAC likes the idea of 'Texpansion'

Karl Benson shot himself and the WAC in foot by trying talk BYU into joining in non-football sports, and jumping the gun by initiating talks with UTEP, UNLV, & San Diego State before BYU signed on the dotted line.  Nevada, Fresno State, and Boise State for that matter, did what was best for their Universities.  The WAC was very good to all three of these institutions, but the travel in this conference is a nightmare.  Not only does it stretch from Hawaii to Louisiana, but outposts like Las Cruces, NM, Moscow, ID, and Ruston, LA need a plane ride and a bus ride to get to them.  I wish the WAC luck in future.

Since: Dec 24, 2006
Posted on: September 21, 2010 1:52 am

WAC doesn't have any good options

In retrospect, the WAC dug itself a huge hole by first adding Louisiana Tech and then by not pushing La Tech to leave for the Sun Belt.

La  Tech is an albatross.  Hawaii was already in the WAC, the WAC was and is a western conference.  Louisiana Tech is much too far east and makes the league much too spread out to be attractive to potential members.  Or even to the WAC's own members; Fresno and Nevada bailed out the first chance they got and one huge reason was that the Mountain West has much lower travel costs.  Fresno and Nevada won't have to send all their sports teams a zillion miles away to northeastern Louisiana any more.

So now the WAC is stuck.  They have only six members going forward, and no school that is already in FBS wants to join a conference that is spread out from Hawaii to Louisiana.  The WAC's only options are the unattractive options of adding schools that are new to top-division football and may never ever generate the fan support or financial support to become strong, contributing members of the conference.

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