AP reports: SJSU, Utah State leaving WAC in football
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – A person with knowledge of the situation confirmed Thursday that Utah State and San Jose State are jumping from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West Conference in 2013 for football.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the move won’t be formally announced until Friday. The Salt Lake Tribune first reported the move.
The person said Utah State is making the move to the MWC in all sports. A few of San Jose State’s sports programs, including women’s water polo, will not be affected.
The two schools would replace San Diego State and Boise State, which are joining the Big East for football.
Utah State and San Jose State both sent out releases Thursday indicating press conferences were scheduled Friday to discuss “conference affiliation.”
Neither release contained additional information, although San Jose State’s indicated its football coach would be available to answer questions. Athletic directors at Utah State and San Jose State were not available for comment Thursday.
With the latest moves, the Mountain West will have 10 football teams for 2013-14: Air Force, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, San Jose State, UNLV, Utah State and Wyoming.
The recent moves could be a crippling blow to the WAC as a football conference as it would have just two remaining members with football programs after next season – New Mexico State and Idaho.
Earlier Wednesday, University of Texas System regents approved letting UT-San Antonio move to Conference USA in 2013. UTSA will play in the WAC this season.
WAC interim Commissioner Jeff Hurd has acknowledged the changing landscape in Division I athletics. He said in a statement earlier this week the conference is evaluating membership options. He would not speculate on what those might be, but said he had confidence the WAC would maintain its more than 50-year history as a “preeminent Division I conference.”
In 1996, the WAC had a record 16 teams, making it the largest major football conference in the nation.