The dominoes of conference realignment were bound to leave a conference on life support if not in a situation even worse than that, and the Western Athletic Conference was said league.
With Idaho considering a move to take its non-football sports to the Big Sky (football would be an independent), the league was looking at the prospect of having just three members in 2014.
New Mexico State, which will also play football as an independent next year, Denver and Seattle were all that was left under that scenario, with the latter two making their debut in the WAC this season (nice welcome to the conference, huh?).
But the WAC isn’t going to go down without at least trying to make things work, as Neil Warner of the Provo Daily Herald reported on Friday that the conference has officially invited Utah Valley Univeersity to join.
According to Warner’s story the conference is expected to issue an invite to Cal State Bakersfield as well, which would bring their number of members up to six next year (thanks to @TheUpset for that fact).
While NCAA rules require a conference to have seven members if it’s to be recognized in basketball, the WAC did receive a two-year waiver in order to reconstitute itself (if that was possible).
While Cal State Bakersfield is currently a Division I independent Utah Valley is a member of the Great West Conference, and Dick Hunsaker’s team is coming off of a 20-win campaign and a regular season conference title.
But the Great West, which has been in existence for just four years, has just five basketball-playing members (the winner does get an auto bid into the CollegeInsider.com tournament) and didn’t look good in regards to earning an auto bid to the NCAA tournament.
Utah Valley’s move, if completed, would drop the Great West to three basketball members (Houston Baptist joins the Southland next year): Chicago State, NJIT and Texas-Pan American.