ACU has been officially invited to the Western Athletic Conference Thursday, alongside Lamar, Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin and Southern Utah, effective July 1, ending eight years as a member of the Southland Conference.
“It’s been a long process that we had to work through,” said Allen Ward, director of athletics. “It’s a good day, and I’m glad we made it here.”
The 13-team conference will be divided in two divisions. ACU, Lamar, SHSU, SFA, Tarleton State and University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley will compose a Southwest Division. A West Division will consist of California Baptist, Dixie State, Grand Canyon, New Mexico State, Seattle, Southern Utah and Utah Valley.
Men’s and women’s basketball will feature divisional and crossover play with the number of conference games to be played still to be determined. The conference’s tournament will remain in Las Vegas.
“It’s a big day. It’s historic for the university and the Western Athletic Conference,” said Dr. Schubert, president of the university. “It brings a tremendous amount of opportunity to the front table. There’s so much benefit to be gained in this successful move, and we’re looking forward to that.”
The WAC was formed in 1962 and will crown teams and individual champions in 20 sports – 10 men’s and 10 women’s championships.
Football has been absent from the conference since 2012 but will return in 2022 as a Football Championship Subdivision level (FCS) with the hopes of moving to the FBS “within a decade.”
Chicago State will be the only member leaving the WAC after the 2021-22 academic year.
“We’ve had some conversations about football,” Ward said. “We expect to have a WAC schedule in the fall, and then we’ll move into a more longer term schedule.”