There is a feud brewing in the state of Utah between Utah State and Utah Valley University, and it is over UVU possibly joining the WAC. We all know that the WAC is on life support and really can not be afford to be picky on who potential members may be. UVU assumed that during the upcoming WAC meetings on June 13-14 that an invite would forth coming to join the league as a basketball-only member. However that may not be the case; UVU was given an invited to the upcoming meetings, but a few weeks after the invitation was granted it was rescinded a few weeks after. That is making UVU worried that they will not be invited to join the WAC.
The reason may come from Utah State who currently is the strongest WAC member and UVU feels that Utah State is blocking a potential UVU move to the league:
"Other people in the WAC tell me that if Utah State would support us ... we would get in," Utah Valley athletic director Michael Jacobsen told The Salt Lake Tribune on Wednesday. "We don't think that we're getting that support."
Utah State President Stan Albrecht responded to the claim that they are denying UVU entry to the WAC:
"That's a bunch of B.S.," Albrecht said. "There's nothing to block. We haven't even met yet. People have been getting way ahead of themselves on the issue, and it's unfortunate. Until we meet in June, there's really nothing to talk about. The notion that we wouldn't want to compete for recruits is completely untrue. Give me a break. We've competed for decades against Utah and BYU, and we've done quite well."
Utah State wants the WAC to focus on adding football members as well since that is where the money comes from to support the league, and that is understandable; however, Utah State needs to realize that they need to add members on any capacity to keep the WAC alive.
WAC commissioner Karl Benson has said that UVU is being considered to join the WAC as a basketball-only member as is Seattle University.
So, what does this have to do with the Mountain West?
Well, we know the WAC is close to falling apart and that Utah State wants to be in the Mountain West and they were almost added as members with San Jose State in January, but that fell through. Plus, we know they turned down the Mountain West last summer when they thought BYU would be partnering with the WAC in all sports but football.
A few options to consider: Utah State is flexing their muscles and really do now want UVU in the league because it does not help the WAC on the football front or is it possible that Utah State wants the WAC to fail so that they will be saved by the Mountain West?
The latter seems too risky and highly unlikely, but if Utah State truly wants to stay in the WAC and help it thrive then they should not block willing candidates. The league has already been rebuffed by North Texas, Montana and Montana State; so they do not really have the choice to be too picky here.
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