Western Athletic Conference

Western Athletic Conference

Infobox Athletic Conference
name = Western Athletic Conference
short_name = WAC
established = 1962

logo_size = 200
association = NCAA
division = Division I
subdivision = FBS
members = 9
sports = 19
mens = 8
womens = 11
region = California, Nevada, Idaho, Utah,
New Mexico, Hawaii, and Louisiana
former_names =
hq_city = Greenwood Village
hq_stateabb = CO
hq_state = Colorado
commissioner = Karl Benson
since = 1994
website = http://www.wacsports.com/
color = 800020
font_color = C0C0C0


map_size = 250
The Western Athletic Conference (commonly referred to as the WAC, pronounced "wack") was formed on July 27, 1962, making it the sixth oldest of the 11 college athletic conferences currently participating in the NCAA's Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS; formerly Division I-A). The WAC covers a broad expanse of the Western United States, with member institutions located in California, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.

History

Formation

The WAC formed out of a series of talks between Brigham Young University President Edwin Kimball and other university administrators from 1958 to 1961 to form a new athletic conference that would better fit the needs and situations of certain universities which were at the time members of the Border, Skyline and Pacific Coast Conferences. Potential member universities who were represented at the meetings included Brigham Young, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Arizona State, and Wyoming. While the three Washington and Oregon schools elected to stay in a revamped Pac-8 Conference that replaced the scandal-plagued PCC, the remaining six schools formed the WAC, forcing the disbandment of the Border and Skyline conferences. New Mexico State and Utah State applied for charter membership and were turned down; they would eventually become WAC members 43 years later.

Charter members

* University of Arizona (withdrew June 30, 1978 to join the Pacific-10 Conference)
* Arizona State University (withdrew June 30, 1978 to join the Pacific-10 Conference)
* Brigham Young University (withdrew June 30, 1999 to form the Mountain West Conference)
* University of New Mexico (withdrew June 30, 1999 to form the Mountain West Conference)
* University of Utah (withdrew June 30, 1999 to form the Mountain West Conference)
* University of Wyoming (withdrew June 30, 1999 to form the Mountain West Conference)

uccess and first expansion

The conference proved to be an almost perfect fit for the six schools from both a competitive and financial standpoint. Arizona and Arizona State, in particular, experienced success in baseball with Arizona garnering the 1963 College World Series runner-up trophy and ASU winning the CWS in 1965, 1967, and 1969. UTEP, recently renamed from Texas Western College, and Colorado State joined in 1967 to bring membership up to eight.

With massive growth in the state of Arizona, the balance of WAC play in the 1970s became increasingly skewed in favor of the Arizona schools, who won or tied for all but two WAC football titles from 1969 onward. In the summer of 1978, the two schools left the WAC for the Pac-8, which became the Pac-10, and were replaced in the WAC by San Diego State and, one year later, Hawaiokinai. The WAC further expanded by adding Air Force in the summer of 1980. A college football national championship won by BYU in 1984 added to the WAC's reputation as the best of the so-called mid-major conferences. The nine-team lineup of the WAC defined the conference for nearly 15 years.

econd wave of expansion and turbulence

Fresno State expanded its athletic program in the early 1990s and was granted membership in 1992 as the nationwide trend against major college programs independent of conferences accelerated. The WAC merged with the High Country Athletic Conference, a parallel organization to the WAC for women's athletics, in 1990 to unify both men's and women's athletics under one administrative structure.

In 1996, the demise of the scandal-plagued Southwest Conference set off a chain reaction that affected conferences nationwide and the WAC was no exception. Rice, TCU, and SMU from the disbanded SWC were admitted into the WAC, along with San José State and UNLV from the Big West Conference as well as Tulsa from the Missouri Valley Conference to bring WAC membership to sixteen universities in two divisions.

To help in organizing schedules and travel for the farflung league, the members were divided into four quadrants of four teams each, as follows:

Note:
*Idaho uses the same structure for both its home football and basketball games, although it uses a different name for the venue's basketball configuration. Also, Idaho has occasionally used Martin Stadium at Washington State University, only 8 miles (13 km) west, for a home football game. In 1999, while a member of the Big West Conference, Idaho played all of their home games at Martin Stadium and did not play a single game in the state of Idaho. This was due to the requirements by the Big West, and due to remodeling of the Kibbie Dome per the NCAA for Idaho to be a Division I-A, now FBS, school.

Rivalries

*Conference
**Boise State-Fresno State - Mostly in football; the two Universities have a milk can trophy given to the winner of the game, started in 2005
**Boise State-Hawaiokinai – An emerging football rivalry featuring two of the three non-BCS schools to participate in a BCS bowl game.
**Boise State-Idaho - A heated rivalry in basketball and football in the last few years. In football, the two teams play for the annual "Governor's Cup".
**Hawaiokinai-Fresno State - "The Battle of the Screwdriver"
**Hawaiokinai-New Mexico State - Women's volleyball; both teams are consistently rated to be at the top of the WAC.
**Nevada-Boise State
**Louisiana Tech-Fresno State - Battle of The Bone; so named because both universities use Bulldogs as their mascots
**San José State-Fresno State

*Non-Conference
**Hawaiokinai-BYU (Mountain West) - This rivalry is a leftover from the "golden age" of the WAC, and is dwindling; Hawaii and BYU haven't played each other in football since 2002.
**Hawaiokinai-UCLA (PAC-10) - A rivalry in women's volleyball. The two teams have played each other every season since 1980. [ [http://uclabruins.cstv.com/sports/w-volley/spec-rel/082906aaa.html "Hawaii Up Next for Women's Volleyball: "] , " [http://uclabruins.cstv.com/ UCLA Bruins Official Athletic Site] ", 2006-08-29. Retrieved on 2008-09-25.]
**Idaho-Montana (Big Sky) This is a remnant of the PCC when Idaho and Montana were members.
**Idaho-Washington State (Pac 10) - Battle of the Palouse
**Nevada-UNLV (Mountain West) - The Battle for Nevada and the Fremont Cannon
**New Mexico State-New Mexico (Mountain West) - The Rio Grande Rivalry
**New Mexico State-UTEP (Conference USA) - The Silver Spade
**San José State-San Diego State (Mountain West)
**San José State-Stanford (Pac 10)
**Utah State-BYU (Mountain West)
**Utah State-Utah (Mountain West) - The Beehive Boot

Commissioners

*Paul Brechler (1962-1968)
*Wiles Hallock (1968-1971)
*Stan Bates (1971-1980)
*Dr.Joseph Kearney (1980-1994)
*Karl Benson (1994-present)

Awards

Commissioner's Cup: The WAC awards its Commissioner's Cup to the school that performs the best in each of the conference's 19 men's and women's championships.

Stan Bates Award: The award is named in honor of former WAC Commissioner Stan Bates and honors the WAC's top male and female scholar-athletes, recognizing the recipients’ athletic and academic accomplishments. In addition, the awards carry a $2,000 postgraduate scholarship.

Joe Kearney Award: Named in honor of former WAC commissioner Dr. Joseph Kearney, the awards are given annually to the top male and female WAC athlete. The WAC Athletics Directors select the male award winner, while the WAC Senior Woman Administrators choose the female honoree.

National championships

The following teams have won NCAA national championships while being a member of the WAC:

*Arizona - baseball (1976)
*Arizona State - baseball (1965, 1967, 1969, 1977)
*BYU - women's cross country (1997)
*Fresno State - softball (1998), baseball (2008)
*Rice - baseball (2003)
*UNLV - men's golf (1998)The WAC has also produced one AP national champion in football:

*BYU (1984)

Football Bowl Games

The WAC regularly sends teams to three different bowl games: the Hawaiokinai Bowl, the Humanitarian Bowl, and the New Mexico Bowl. The conference even has the opportunity to send a team to a BCS game, and did so in 2006 with Boise State and 2007 with Hawaiokinai.

Bowl Championship Series

The WAC champion will receive an automatic berth in one of the five BCS bowl games if:
* ranked in the top 12 of the BCS Standings. (Both Boise State in 2006 and Hawaiokinai in 2007 qualified under this criterion.)
* Or if ranked in the top 16 of the BCS Standings and its ranking is higher than that of a champion of a conference that has an annual automatic berth in one of the BCS bowls.

Hawaiokinai BowlThe bowl will select a WAC team and will match it against a Pac-10 opponent.

Humanitarian BowlThe bowl will select a WAC team and will match it against an ACC opponent.

New Mexico BowlThe bowl will select a WAC team and will match it against a Mountain West Conference opponent.

Conference championships

Football

*WAC Football Championship

Basketball

*WAC Men's Basketball Tournament
*WAC Women's Basketball Tournament

Baseball

*WAC Baseball Tournament

References

External links

* [http://www.wacsports.com/ Official site of the Western Athletic Conference]


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