For the past few years, the Western Athletic Conference has been like a talented second-stringer trying to make it to the top.
Guess what, the WAC has arrived.
The conference and ESPN announced Wednesday that they have reached agreement on a television contract extension through April of 2017.
No financial terms were discussed, but schools will start to reap some of the financial benefits immediately. The contract calls for increased exposure for football and men's basketball, and also adds a women's component where a limited amount of games will be broadcast starting this fall.
Key points in the WAC-ESPN deal
Length of contract - through April of 2017
Football - Doubles the amount of games per year from eight to a minimum of 16 with at least 10 on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2, and at least six on ESPNU. A minimum of nine conference games with an average of five on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. Every
school will appear at least once.
Men's basketball - Quadruples the number of games per year with a minumum of six regular-season games each year on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2, and three of those
broadcasts must be conference games. One semifinal and the championship game of the conference tournament will be shown on one of the three networks.
Also, a minimum of six regular-season games each year on ESPNU plus one
quarterfinal game of the conference tournament. Every school will make one national appearance.
Women's sports - Six regular-season events (volleyball, basketball or softball) this year, seven next year and eight in 2010-11. The volleyball and women's basketball
title games will be aired on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.