The Western Athletic Conference membership committee discussed Wednesday presentations five institutions made that the organization is considering as potential future members.
WAC Commissioner Karl Benson held a teleconference with the media Wednesday afternoon to evaluate the progress of the meetings with Texas State, Texas-San Antonio, Montana, Denver and Seattle. Benson said all five programs made strong presentations, and the WAC’s next step is to schedule campus visits to the interested instituitons in the next 30 to 60 days. Benson said after this time period, the WAC may begin extending invitations to programs that will become part of the future, eight-school conference.
Senior Commissioner Jeff Hurd said WAC officials could make a visit to Texas State as early as the weekend of the Bobcats’ homecoming game Oct. 23 against Northwestern State.
“A (campus visit) schedule will be established roughly in the next 30-day period,” Hurd said. “It depends on our board of directors’ schedules, but the homecoming weekend at Texas State is possible.”
Hurd said visiting the campus consists of looking at the program’s facilities, its plans for future growth both athletically and academically and the percentage of students on campus, among other factors.
“The most important factor in visiting these campuses is projecting the future growth of the school and considering where it will be five or 10 years down the road,” Hurd said.
Benson said Texas State and UTSA made impressive presentations in Tuesday’s meeting, and are both strong WAC candidates.
“We’ve had (Texas State and UTSA) on our radar,” Benson said. “I met with Texas State officials back in June shortly after the Boise State departure. Those two schools contacted us, and we certainly then took it to the next step.
Benson said the committee likes the preparations Texas State and UTSA have in terms of moving to the Football Bowl Subdivision.
“Our athletic directors look at both Texas State and UTSA and the plans that they have in place, the funding models that they have in place, the facilities and/or future facilities, the coaches that they have specifically on the football side, (and know the schools) will be a very contributing member of the FBS in a fairly short period of time. Can they be the next Boise State? Absolutely.”
According to Southland Conference rules, Texas State must give a two-year notice of its move to another conference or the program will face a $250,000 fine. Hurd said if Texas State is invited to the WAC, it will undergo one “probation” year before reaching bowl
“In Texas State’s case, they would have a year where they would be an FBS counter school for other teams playing them, but they can’t be in a bowl game,” Hurd said. “It would be two years (after the move) before Texas State could become bowl eligible.”
— Reporting contributed by Cameron Irvine