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Western Athletic Conference
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The Western Athletic Conference (known as the WAC) is a conference formed on July 27, 1962 and participating in the NCAA's Division I. The WAC covers a broad expanse of the western United States, with member institutions located in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Utah, and Washington, along with the "non-western" state of Texas (traditionally associated with the South).

Due to most of the conference's football-playing members leaving the WAC for other affiliations, the conference discontinued football as a sponsored sport after the 2012-13 season and left the NCAA's Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-A). The WAC thus became the first Division I conference to drop football since the Big West in 2000. The WAC then added men's soccer and became one of the NCAA's eleven Division I non-football conferences.

The WAC underwent a major expansion in July 2021. The WAC had announced on January 14 of that year that five new members would join by 2022. Originally, all new members were intended to join in July 2022. However, when the Southland Conference, home to four of the incoming members, expelled those schools effective with the end of the 2020–21 school year, the WAC moved their arrival forward to 2021.[1][2] The fifth new member, Southern Utah, joined on the original 2022 schedule. With all incoming members sponsoring football at the second level of Division I, the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), the conference reinstated football at the FCS level for the fall 2021 season. The new members were joined in the football league by current FCS football schools Dixie State (now Utah Tech) and Tarleton,[3] as well as three incoming members of the ASUN Conference in a partnership that was intended to operate until the ASUN established its own FCS league in 2022.[4]

The early-2020s realignment continued to affect the WAC in 2022. After the American Athletic Conference lost three of its most prominent members to the Big 12 Conference, it responded with a massive raid of Conference USA, taking six members from that conference effective in 2023. The Sun Belt Conference also raided C-USA, taking three members; these schools were originally intended to join the SBC in 2023, but they instead moved in 2022. This left C-USA with only five confirmed members after the 2022–23 season, with eight members required to maintain its status as an FBS conference. C-USA responded by adding four schools effective in 2023, with two being WAC members New Mexico State (an FBS independent in football) and Sam Houston. The others were ASUN members Jacksonville State and Liberty (the latter being an FBS independent).[5] This move meant that Jacksonville State and Sam Houston would start FBS transitions in 2022, rendering both ineligible for the FCS playoffs that season and dropping both conferences below the six playoff-eligible members needed for an automatic playoff berth. Accordingly, the WAC and ASUN extended their football partnership.[6] In January 2022, Chicago State, a major geographic outlier for most of its time in the WAC, announced its departure effective that July.[7] In April 2022, Lamar announced that it would return to the Southland Conference in 2023, but ultimately accelerated that move to July 2022.[8] In late June 2022, Incarnate Word announced one week before its move to the WAC would have become official that it was staying in the Southland Conference.[9]

Current members[]

Former members[]

  • Air Force (joined 1980; women's sports joined in 1996; left in 1999)
  • Arizona (joined 1962, left in 1978)
  • Arizona State (joined 1962, left in 1978)
  • Boise State (joined 2001, left in 2011)
  • BYU (joined 1962, left in 1999)
  • Cal State Bakersfield (joined in 2013, left in 2020)
  • Chicago State (joined in 2013; left in 2022)
  • Colorado State (joined 1967, left in 1999)
  • Fresno State (joined 1992, left in 2012)
  • Hawaii (joined in 1979; women's sports joined in 1996; left in 2012)
  • Idaho (joined 2005, left in 2014)
  • Kansas City (joined in 2013 under former athletic identity of UMKC Kangaroos; left in 2020, a year after changing athletic identity to Kansas City Roos)
  • Lamar (joined in 2021, left in 2022)
  • Louisiana Tech (joined 2001, left in 2013)
  • Nevada (joined 2000, left in 2012)
  • New Mexico (joined 1962, left in 1999)
  • Rice (joined 1996, left in 2005)
  • San Diego State (joined 1978, left in 1999)
  • San José State (joined 1996, left in 2013)
  • SMU (joined 1996, left in 2005)
  • TCU (joined 1996, left in 2001)
  • Texas State (joined 2012, left in 2013)
  • Tulsa (joined 1996, left in 2005)
  • UNLV (joined 1996, left in 1999)
  • Utah (joined 1962, left in 1999)
  • Utah State (joined 2005, left in 2013)
  • UTEP (joined 1967, left in 2005)
  • UTSA (joined 2012, left in 2013)
  • Wyoming (joined 1962, left in 1999)


  1. Blum, Sam (January 14, 2021). "As WAC announces addition of 5 schools, Frisco-based Southland Conference left in no man’s land". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved January 18, 2021. 
  2. "WAC Announces Expedited Entrance for Four Texas Institutions". Western Athletic Conference. January 21, 2021. 
  3. "WAC Announces Expansion, Plans to Reinstate Football". Western Athletic Conference. January 14, 2021. Retrieved January 15, 2021. 
  4. "ASUN, WAC Conferences Announce Football Partnership for 2021". ASUN Conference. February 23, 2021. Retrieved February 23, 2021. 
  5. "Conference USA Adds Four Members". Conference USA. November 5, 2021. 
  6. "ASUN and WAC Renew Football Alliance". ASUN Conference. May 18, 2022. 
  7. "Chicago State University Announces Plan to Leave Western Athletic Conference in June 2022". Chicago State Cougars. January 14, 2021. Retrieved January 15, 2021. 
  8. "Lamar University Prepares for Early Move to Southland Conference". Southland Conference. July 11, 2022. 
  9. "University of the Incarnate Word Staying in the Southland Conference". Southland Conference. June 24, 2022. 

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