You have to give Karl Benson credit, he is not giving up. Less then one month ago, Benson added Seattle University as a non-football member to join the WAC and now it seems that it will only be a formality that the University of Texas at Arlington will join the WAC. The University of Texas System Board of Regents will have vote on Thursday July, 14 to vote and approve a move from the Southland Conference to the WAC.
School officials are being mum about the move, but according to reports Karl Benson extended offered an offer to Texas-Arlington back on June 5 and visited the campus on June 29. Also on the agenda is the vote to leave the Southland to the WAC which is to be taken place at 12:20 p.m. CT.
With the expected move, UTA will be forced to pay a $300,000 penalty to the Southland Conference for not giving the league two years notice.
One odd thing about this move is because along with Benson extending an invite on June 5 to UTA, the WAC presidents unanimously agreed to add UTA to the league, because why not add them when they added Seattle just three weeks ago. The only assumption could be that UTA needed time to figure out how to come up with the buyout penalty or there needed to be an official vote by the Board and July 14 is the next vote.
UTA is set to join the WAC July 1, 2012 along with Denver University, Seattle University, UT-San Antonio and Texas State. This move to add UTA still leaves the WAC with seven football playing members with Idaho, Utah State, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State, Texas State and UT-San Antonio. Even though there are no requirement for UTA to add football, the school is looking into restarting their football program to begin play in 2016.
This move also gives the WAC a nice round 10-member basketball conference, but if I were Utah Valley University I would be upset since they were passed over for yet another basketball only team for a second time. UVU also is considering adding football about the same time UTA is expected to start up their team. An 11-team basketball league could be an issue with scheduling, but UVU is in the footprint with most of the WAC and would make sense.
The WAC still needs to add an eighth football member because that is where the leagues viability will come from. If UTA does start a program the WAC will have eight playing members, but they will be on the same level as the Sun Belt Conference -- possibly being even worse then the SBC.
Montana and Montana State are the two best schools that the WAC is going after, but the two schools have rebuffed the offers to join the WAC on multiple occasions. However, the move to add three more Texas schools is an incentive for Louisiana Tech to stay in the fledging WAC, but if C-USA does decide to offer Louisiana Tech to join their league they will be done with the WAC. Plus, outside of the Big Sky Conference only the Southland provides viable football schools that are within the WAC's footprint.
It looks like the WAC is going to make it as a division one conference, but barely.
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