The Western Athletic Conference (WAC) is an American collegiate athletic conference formed on July 27, 1962 and affiliated with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I. The WAC covers a broad expanse of the western United States, with member institutions located in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Utah, and Washington, along with the "non-western" states of Missouri and Illinois (traditionally associated with the Midwest), as well as Texas (traditionally associated with the Southwest).

Due to most of the conference's football-playing members leaving the WAC for other affiliations, the conference discontinued football as a sponsored sport after the 2012–13 season and left the NCAA's Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-A). The WAC thus became the first Division I conference to drop football since the Big West in 2000. The WAC then added men's soccer and became one of the NCAA's eleven Division I non-football conferences.[2]

Member schools

Current members

The following institutions are the full members of the WAC for the 2016–17 academic year.

InstitutionLocationFoundedTypeEnrollmentEndowmentNicknameColorsJoinedWAC
Titles[4]
California State University, BakersfieldBakersfield, California1965Public8,720$18,000,000Roadrunners         20137
Chicago State UniversityChicago1867Public3,578$3,000,000Cougars         20130
Grand Canyon UniversityPhoenix, Arizona1949Private17,600N/AAntelopes              201316
University of Missouri–Kansas CityKansas City, Missouri1933Public16,160$195,000,000Kangaroos         201312
New Mexico State UniversityLas Cruces, New Mexico1888Public18,497$214,000,000Aggies         200553
Seattle UniversitySeattle1891Private7,755$211,000,000Redhawks         201216
University of Texas Rio Grande ValleyEdinburg, Texas1927Public29,045$77,500,000Vaqueros              20132
Utah Valley UniversityOrem, Utah1941Public33,211$48,000,000Wolverines         201313
Notes
  1. With the elimination of football as a WAC-sponsored sport, New Mexico State's football program has joined the Sun Belt as an associate member.
  2. In July 2015, UTPA merged with the University of Texas at Brownsville to create the new University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV).[15] The University of Texas System stated in July 2014 that "the UTPA athletics program will be converted into the athletics program at UTRGV."[16] On November 5, 2014, UTRGV's new nickname of Vaqueros was announced.
  3. The founding date for UTRGV listed in this table reflects that of Edinburg College, the institution that eventually became UTPA.
  4. Chicago State's continued membership is problematic. Considering the school's current strained financial situation and the needs of the athletic program, in April 2016, the University Budget Committee recommended that the Athletic Department "... study the benefits of being Division I or another division."
  5. Championships title totals are through Spring 2016.
  6. California State University, Bakersfield will be leaving for the Big West Conference in 2020.[62]

Future member

InstitutionLocationFoundedTypeEnrollment [8]Endowment
(mil)[8]
NicknameColorsJoining
California Baptist University[63]Riverside, California1950Private9,157$41.0Lancers         2018

Affiliate members

The following 10 schools field programs in the WAC for sports not sponsored by their primary conferences.

InstitutionLocationFoundedTypeEnrollmentNicknamePrimary ConferenceWAC Sport(s)JoinedWAC
Titles[4]
Former
Full
Member
United States Air Force Academy
(Air Force)
Colorado Springs,Colorado1955Federal4,413FalconsMountain Westmen's soccer,
men's swimming
2013–14m.soc
2013–14m.sw
10Green tickY
California State University, Sacramento
(Sacramento State)
Sacramento,California1947Public27,972HornetsBig Skybaseball2005–066Red XN
Houston Baptist UniversityHouston1960Private2,567HuskiesSouthlandmen's soccer2013–140Red XN
University of IdahoMoscow, Idaho1889Public12,312VandalsBig Skywomen's swimming2014–1517Green tickY
University of the Incarnate WordSan Antonio1881Private8,455CardinalsSouthlandmen's soccer2014–150Red XN
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
(UNLV)
Paradise,Nevada1957Public29,069RebelsMountain Westmen's soccer,
men's swimming
2013–14m.soc
2013–14m.sw
7Green tickY
Northern Arizona UniversityFlagstaff,Arizona1899Public18,824LumberjacksBig Skywomen's swimming2004–054Red XN
University of Northern ColoradoGreeley,Colorado1889Public10,097BearsBig Skybaseball,
women's swimming
2013–14bs.
2012–13w.sw
1Red XN
San Jose State UniversitySan Jose,California1857Public30,448SpartansMountain Westmen's soccer2013–1418Green tickY
University of WyomingLaramie,Wyoming1886Public12,496CowboysMountain Westmen's swimming2013–1424Green tickY
Notes
  1. Four schools became affiliate members in men's soccer in July 2013; the WAC announced on January 9, 2013 that it would reinstate the sport, which it had sponsored from 1996 to 1999. Because the conference dropped football, it was necessary to add a new men's team sport to maintain its Division I status. It chose men's soccer because three of the confirmed members for 2013–14 (CSU Bakersfield, Grand Canyon, and Seattle) already sponsored the sport, and filled out its soccer ranks by attracting four schools from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Three of these schools have past WAC connections—former full members Air Force, UNLV and San Jose State.[47] After the WAC announced it would add men's soccer, the conference gained an eighth soccer school for the 2013 season when UMKC, which already sponsored the sport, joined. In addition, Utah Valley added the sport for 2014, UT-Pan American (now known as UT Rio Grande Valley) added it for 2015, and Chicago State is slated to add it for 2016.
  2. Four schools (three of which are former WAC full members: Air Force, UNLV and Wyoming; and North Dakota) became affiliate members in men's swimming and diving in July 2013; the WAC announced on May 16, 2013 that it would reinstate the sport, which it had sponsored from 1962 to 2000.[11]
  3. Northern Colorado joined the WAC for baseball for the 2014 season (2013–14 academic year).[12]
  4. Sacramento State was formerly an associate member of the WAC in baseball from 1992–93 to 1995–96.
  5. Championships title totals are through Fall 2014.

Former full members

The WAC has 27 former full members.

InstitutionNicknameLocationFoundedTypeEnrollmentJoinedLeftWAC
Titles[4]
Current Primary
Conference
United States Air Force Academy
(Air Force)
FalconsColorado Springs, Colorado1954Federal4,413198019997Mountain West
University of ArizonaWildcatsTucson, Arizona1885Public39,2361962197818Pac-12
Arizona State UniversitySun DevilsTempe, Arizona1885Public59,7941962197829Pac-12
Boise State UniversityBroncosBoise, Idaho1932Public22,6782001201133Mountain West
Brigham Young University
(BYU)
CougarsProvo, Utah1875Private34,13019621999193WCC
Division I FBS Independent
California State University, Fresno
(Fresno State)
BulldogsFresno, California1911Public22,5651992201278Mountain West
Colorado State UniversityRamsFort Collins, Colorado1870Public28,4171967199915Mountain West
University of DenverPioneersDenver1864Private11,476201220137Summit
University of Hawaiʻi at MānoaRainbow Warriors & Rainbow WahineHonolulu1907Public20,4351979201262Big West
Mountain West (football only)
University of IdahoVandalsMoscow, Idaho1889Public12,3122005201417Big Sky
Louisiana Tech UniversityBulldogs (men's)
Lady Techsters (women's)
Ruston, Louisiana1894Public11,5812001201330C-USA
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
(UNLV)
RebelsParadise, Nevada1957Public28,203199619992Mountain West
University of Nevada, RenoWolf PackReno, Nevada1874Public18,2272000201222Mountain West
University of New MexicoLobosAlbuquerque, New Mexico1889Public35,2111962199946Mountain West
Rice UniversityOwlsHouston1912Private6,0821996200529C-USA
San Diego State UniversityAztecsSan Diego1897Public28,7891978199920Mountain West
San Jose State UniversitySpartansSan Jose, California1857Public30,4481996201318Mountain West
Southern Methodist University
(SMU)
MustangsUniversity Park, Texas1911Private12,0001996200544The American
Texas Christian University
(TCU)
Horned FrogsFort Worth, Texas1873Private9,7251996200118Big 12
University of Texas at ArlingtonMavericksArlington, Texas1895Public33,439201220132Sun Belt
University of Texas at El Paso
(UTEP)
MinersEl Paso, Texas1914Public21,0111967200558C-USA
University of Texas at San Antonio
(UTSA)
RoadrunnersSan Antonio1969Public30,474201220132C-USA
Texas State UniversityBobcatsSan Marcos, Texas1899Public34,229201220133Sun Belt
University of TulsaGolden HurricaneTulsa, Oklahoma1894Private4,3521996200514The American
University of UtahUtesSalt Lake City1850Public32,3881962199968Pac-12
Utah State UniversityAggiesLogan, Utah1888Public28,7962005201332Mountain West
University of WyomingCowboys & CowgirlsLaramie, Wyoming1866Public12,4961962199924Mountain West

Former affiliate members

InstitutionLocationFoundedTypeEnrollmentNicknamePrimary ConferenceWAC Sport(s)JoinedLeft
Boise State UniversityBoise, Idaho1932Public22,678BroncosMountain Westgymnastics1990–91,
2012–13
1992–93,
2012–13
California Polytechnic State University
(Cal Poly San Luis Obispo)
San Luis Obispo,California1901Public20,186MustangsBig Westbaseball1994–951995–96
California State University, Bakersfield
(Cal State Bakersfield)
Bakersfield,California1965Public8,720RoadrunnersWACbaseball,
women's
swimming
2012–13bs.
2012–13w.sm.
2012–13bs.
2012–13w.sm.
California State University, Fullerton
(Cal State Fullerton)
Fullerton,California1959Public38,128TitansBig Westgymnastics2005–062010–11
California State University, Northridge
(Cal State Northridge)
Northridge,California1958Public38,310MatadorsBig Skybaseball1992–931995–96
California State University, Sacramento
(Sacramento State)
Sacramento,California1947Public27,972HornetsBig Skygymnastics2005–062012–13
Dallas Baptist UniversityDallas1898Private5,422PatriotsHeartland
(NCAA Division II)
baseball2012–132012–13
University of DenverDenver1864Private11,476PioneersSummitgymnastics2011–122011–12
Drury UniversitySpringfield,Missouri1873Private5,474PanthersGreat Lakes (GLVC)
(NCAA Division II)
men's soccer1999–20001999–2000
Grand Canyon UniversityPhoenix,Arizona1949Private,
For-profit
17,650AntelopesWACbaseball1994–951997–98
University of Hawaii at Hilo
(Hawaii–Hilo)
Hilo,Hawaii1901Public20,186VulcansPacific West
(NCAA Division II)
baseball1999–20002000–01
University of North DakotaGrand Forks,North Dakota1883Public15,250Fighting HawksBig Skybaseball,
men's swimming,
women's swimming
2013–14bs.
2013–14m.sm.
2011–12w.sm.
2015–16bs.
2016–17m.sm.
2016–17w.sm.
University of San DiegoSan Diego1949Private8,105TorerosWest Coastwomen's
swimming
2004–052009–10
Southern Utah UniversityCedar City,Utah1897Public8,297ThunderbirdsBig Skygymnastics1990–91,
2005–06
1992–93,
2012–13
  1. Neither the Big Sky Conference nor the MW sponsors women's gymnastics. Boise State and Southern Utah house that sport in the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference.
  2. Cal State Fullerton no longer sponsors women's gymnastics.
  3. The Big Sky Conference does not sponsor women's gymnastics. Sacramento State houses that sport in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
  4. The Dallas Baptist baseball team currently competes as a single-sport member of the Missouri Valley Conference.
  5. The Summit League does not sponsor women's gymnastics. Denver houses that sport in the Big 12 Conference.
  6. North Dakota no longer sponsors any of the sports it housed in the WAC.
  7. The WCC does not sponsor women's swimming and diving. San Diego houses that sport in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

Membership timeline

California Baptist UniversityHouston Baptist UniversityUtah Valley UniversityUniversity of Missouri–Kansas CityUniversity of Texas Rio Grande ValleyChicago State UniversityUniversity of Northern ColoradoCalifornia State University, BakersfieldDallas Baptist UniversitySeattle UniversitySun Belt ConferenceUniversity of Texas at ArlingtonSun Belt ConferenceTexas State University–San MarcosConference USAUniversity of Texas at San AntonioSummit LeagueUniversity of DenverUniversity of North DakotaCalifornia State University, FullertonNew Mexico StateBig Sky ConferenceUniversity of IdahoMountain West ConferenceUtah State UniversityUniversity of San DiegoNorthern Arizona UniversityConference USALouisiana Tech UniversityMountain West ConferenceUniversity of Nevada, RenoUniversity of Hawaii at HiloDrury UniversityMountain West ConferenceSan Jose State UniversityAmerican Athletic ConferenceConference USAUniversity of TulsaAmerican Athletic ConferenceConference USASouthern Methodist UniversityConference USARice UniversityBig 12 ConferenceMountain West ConferenceConference USATexas Christian UniversityMountain West ConferenceUniversity of Nevada, Las VegasGrand Canyon UniversityCalifornia Polytechnic State UniversityCalifornia State University, NorthridgeBig Sky ConferenceCalifornia State University, SacramentoMountain West ConferenceCalifornia State University, FresnoBig Sky ConferenceNCAA Division I FCS independent schoolsSouthern Utah UniversityMountain West ConferenceBoise State UniversityBig West ConferenceBoise State UniversityMountain West ConferenceUnited States Air Force AcademyBig West ConferenceUniversity of Hawaiʻi at MānoaMountain West ConferenceSan Diego State UniversityConference USAUniversity of Texas at El PasoMountain West ConferenceColorado State UniversityMountain West ConferenceUniversity of WyomingPac-12 ConferenceMountain West ConferenceUniversity of UtahMountain West ConferenceUniversity of New MexicoWest Coast ConferenceMountain West ConferenceBrigham Young UniversityPac-12 ConferencePac-12 ConferenceArizona State UniversityPac-12 ConferencePac-12 ConferenceUniversity of Arizona

Full members Full members (non-football) Other conference Other conference Associate Member

  • Prior to the 1996–97 season, both Air Force and Hawaii had most to all of their women's sports competing in other conferences before joining the WAC full-time with their men's sports counterparts. At that time, Air Force was in the Colorado Athletic Conference, and Hawaii was in the Big West Conference.

History

Formation

Arizona
Arizona State
BYU
New Mexico
Utah
Wyoming
Locations of WAC founding schools

The WAC formed out of a series of talks between Brigham Young University athletic director Eddie Kimball and other university administrators from 1958 to 1961 to form a new athletic conference that would better fit the needs and situations of certain universities which were at the time members of the Border, Skyline, and Pacific Coast Conferences. Potential member universities who were represented at the meetings included BYU, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Arizona State, and Wyoming. While the three Washington and Oregon schools elected to stay in a revamped Pac-8 Conference that replaced the scandal-plagued PCC, the remaining six schools formed the WAC. The Border and Skyline conferences, having each lost three of their stronger members, dissolved at the end of the 1961–62 season. The charter members of the WAC were Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. New Mexico State and Utah State applied for charter membership and were turned down; they would eventually become WAC members 43 years later.

Success and first expansion

The conference proved to be an almost perfect fit for the six schools from both a competitive and financial standpoint. Arizona and Arizona State, in particular, experienced success in baseball with Arizona garnering the 1963 College World Series (CWS) runner-up trophy and ASU winning the CWS in 1965, 1967, and 1969. Colorado State and Texas-El Paso (UTEP), at that time just renamed from Texas Western College, joined in 1967 to bring membership up to eight.

With massive growth in the state of Arizona, the balance of WAC play in the 1970s became increasingly skewed in favor of the Arizona schools, who won or tied for all but two WAC football titles from 1969 onward. In the summer of 1978, the two schools left the WAC for the Pac-8, which became the Pac-10, and were replaced in the WAC by San Diego State and, one year later, Hawaii. The WAC further expanded by adding Air Force in the summer of 1980. A college football national championship won by Brigham Young in 1984 added to the WAC's reputation as one of the best NCAA Division I conferences. This nine-team line-up of the WAC defined the conference for nearly 15 years.

Second wave of expansion and turbulence

Fresno State expanded its athletic program in the early 1990s and was granted membership in 1992 as the nationwide trend against major college programs independent of conferences accelerated. The WAC merged with the High Country Athletic Conference, a parallel organization to the WAC for women's athletics, in 1990 to unify both men's and women's athletics under one administrative structure.

⇙ Hawaii
Fresno State
San Diego State
San Jose State
UNLV
Air Force
Colorado State
Wyoming
BYU
New Mexico
Utah
UTEP
Tulsa
TCU
SMU
Rice
Locations of WAC member schools during the four-pod system in effect from 1996 to 1999

In 1996, the WAC expanded again, adding six schools to its ranks for a total of sixteen. Rice, TCU, and SMU joined the league from the Southwest Conference, which had disbanded. Big West Conference members San Jose State and UNLV were also admitted, as well as Tulsa from the Missouri Valley Conference.[2] Also, two WAC members for men's sports at the time, Air Force and Hawaiʻi, brought their women's sports into the WAC. With the expansion, the WAC was divided into two divisions, the Mountain and the Pacific.

To help in organizing schedules and travel for the farflung league, the members were divided into four quadrants of four teams each, as follows:[2]

Quadrant 1Quadrant 2Quadrant 3Quadrant 4
HawaiʻiUNLVBYUTulsa
Fresno StateAir ForceUtahTCU
San Diego StateColorado StateNew MexicoSMU
San Jose StateWyomingUTEPRice

Quadrant one was always part of the Pacific Division, and quadrant four was always part of the Mountain Division. Quadrant two was part of the Pacific Division for 1996 and 1997 before switching to the Mountain Division in 1998, while the reverse was true for quadrant three. The scheduled fourth year of the alignment was abandoned after eight schools left to form the Mountain West Conference.

The division champions in football met from 1996 to 1998 in a championship game at Sam Boyd Stadium (also known as the Silver Bowl) in Henderson, Nevada.

Increasingly, most of the older, pre-1996 members—particularly Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, Utah, and Wyoming—felt chagrin at this new arrangement. Additional concerns centered around finances, as the expanded league stretched from Hawaiʻi to Oklahoma and now included four time zones in nine states. With such a far-flung league, travel costs became a concern. The presidents of Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, Utah, and Wyoming met in 1998 at Denver International Airport and agreed to split off to form a new league. The breakaway group invited old-line WAC schools New Mexico and San Diego State and newcomer UNLV to join them in the new Mountain West Conference, which began competition in 1999.[2] (BYU and Utah have since left for the West Coast Conference and Pac-12 Conference, respectively; BYU football is an FBS independent.)

A USA Today article summed up the reasons behind the split. "With Hawaii and the Texas schools separated by about 3,900 miles and four time zones, travel costs were a tremendous burden for WAC teams. The costs, coupled with lagging revenue and a proposed realignment that would have separated rivals such as Colorado State and Air Force, created unrest among the eight defecting schools."[3][4]

WAC in the 2000s

⇙ Hawaii
Fresno State
San Jose State
Boise State
Louisiana Tech
Idaho
New Mexico State
Utah State
Nevada
Locations of WAC full members from 2005 through 2011

In 2000, the University of Nevada, Reno (Nevada) of the Big West joined as part of its plan to upgrade its athletic program.

TCU left for Conference USA in 2001 (it would later leave C-USA to become the ninth member of the Mountain West in 2005, and joined the Big 12 in 2012).

The Big West announced that it would drop football after the 2000 season, but four of its football-playing members (Boise State, Idaho, New Mexico State, and Utah State) were unwilling to drop football. Boise State was invited to join the WAC and promptly departed the Big West, while New Mexico State and Idaho joined the Sun Belt Conference (NMSU as a full member, Idaho as a "football only" member) and Utah State operated as an independent D-IA program. At the same time, Louisiana Tech (LA Tech) ended its independent D-IA status and also accepted an invitation to join the WAC with Boise State.

In 2005, Conference USA sought new members to replenish its ranks after losing members to the Big East, which had lost members to the ACC. Four WAC schools, former SWC schools Rice and SMU, as well as Tulsa and UTEP, joined Conference USA. In response, the WAC added Idaho, New Mexico State, and Utah State – all former Big West schools which left the conference in 2000 along with Boise State when that conference dropped football. The three new schools were all land grant universities, bringing the conference total to five (Nevada and Hawaiʻi).

Membership changes and the elimination of football

The decade of the 2010s began with a series of conference realignment moves that would have trickle-down effects throughout Division I football, and profoundly change the membership of the WAC. Boise State decided to move to the Mountain West Conference (MW) for the 2011–12 season,[7] and to replace departing BYU, the MW also recruited WAC members Fresno State and Nevada for 2012–13.[21][18] WAC commissioner Karl Benson courted several schools to replace those leaving, including the University of Montana, which declined,[19][20] as well as the University of Denver, University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), and Texas State University-San Marcos, which all accepted effective 2012–13.[15]

But the resulting eastward shift of the conference's geographic center led Hawaiʻi to reduce travel expenses by becoming a football-only member of the MW and joining the California-based Big West Conference for all other sports.[15][15] Further invitations were then issued by the WAC to Seattle University[15] and the University of Texas at Arlington.[15] These changes meant that the conference would have 10 members for 2012–13,[15] seven of which sponsored football, and Benson announced that the WAC planned to add two additional football-playing members to begin competition in 2013.[15] A further boost came when Boise State decided to join the Big East in football, and return to the WAC in most other sports, as of the 2013–14 academic year.[28] So by the end of 2011, the WAC seemed to have weathered the latest round of conference changes, and once again reinvented itself for the future.

Cal State Bakersfield
Chicago State
Grand Canyon
UMKC
New Mexico State
Seattle
UTRGV
Utah Valley
California Baptist
Locations of current & future WAC full members: Blue=current

But from this seemingly strong position, early 2012 brought forth a series of moves that shook the conference to its very core, beginning with Utah State and San Jose State accepting offers to join the MW.[15] Four similar announcements followed with UTSA and Louisiana Tech jumping to Conference USA, plus Texas State and UT Arlington heading to the Sun Belt Conference, all as of 2013–14.[15][16][16][20][16][16] Boise State also canceled plans to rejoin the WAC, instead opting to place its non-football sports in the Big West Conference, before eventually deciding to simply remain in the MW.[16][16] These changes left the WAC's viability as a Division I football conference in grave doubt. The two remaining football-playing members, New Mexico State and Idaho, began making plans to compete in future seasons as FBS Independents;[16][16] they ultimately spent only the 2013 season as independents, rejoining their one-time football home of the Sun Belt as football-only members in 2014.[16]

In order to rebuild, as well as forestall further defections, the conference was forced to add two schools—Utah Valley University and CSU Bakersfield—which were invited in October 2012 to join the WAC in 2013–14,[41] but this did not prevent two more members from leaving. Denver decided to take most of its athletic teams to The Summit League as of the 2013–14 season,[43] shortly after Idaho opted to return all of its non-football sports to the Big Sky Conference in 2014–15.[22] The conference responded over the next two months by adding Grand Canyon University,[3] Chicago State University,[45] and the University of Texas-Pan American.[46][25] Then, in February 2013, the WAC announced the University of Missouri–Kansas City would join in the summer of 2013 as well.[48] These changes would put the conference's membership at eight members by 2014 with only one, New Mexico State, having been in the WAC just three years earlier. Due to losing the majority of its football-playing members, the WAC would stop sponsoring the sport after the 2012–13 season, thereby becoming a non-football conference.[2]

While the WAC has had no changes in its core membership since the departure of Idaho, one member school has changed its identity. In 2013, the University of Texas System announced that Texas–Pan American would merge with the University of Texas at Brownsville; the new institution, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), began operation for the 2015–16 school year. UTRGV inherited UTPA's athletic program and WAC membership.

In January 2017, the WAC announced that California Baptist University would transition from NCAA Division II and join the conference in 2018.[63]

Commissioners

YearsCommissioners
1962–1968Paul Brechler
1968–1971Wiles Hallock
1971–1980Stan Bates
1980–1994Joseph Kearney
1994–2012Karl Benson
2012–presentJeff Hurd

Sports

The Western Athletic Conference currently sponsors championship competition in nine men's and ten women's NCAA sanctioned sports. Nine schools are currently Associate members in four sports.

Teams in Western Athletic Conference competition
SportMen'sWomen's
Baseball
9
-
Basketball
8
8
Cross country
7
8
Golf
7
8
Soccer
11
8
Softball
-
6
Swimming & Diving
6
6
Tennis
6
6
Track and field (indoor)
7
8
Track and field (outdoor)
7
8
Volleyball
-
8
  • Men's soccer was a newly sponsored sport for 2013–14; UTRGV will add it for 2015, and Chicago State is also to add it.
  • In softball, the WAC has six softball members; however, because softball-sponsoring Grand Canyon is reclassifying from Division II to Division I, it is not eligible for the conference tournament.

Men's sponsored sports by school

SchoolBaseballBasketballCross
Country
GolfSoccerSwimming
& Diving
TennisTrack & Field
(Indoor)
Track & Field
(Outdoor)
Total
WAC Sports
Cal State Bakersfield
Green tickY
Green tickY
Red XN
Red XN
Green tickY
Green tickY
Red XN
Green tickY
Green tickY
6
Chicago State
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Red XN
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
7
Grand Canyon
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
9
UMKC
Red XN
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Red XN
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
7
New Mexico State
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Red XN
Red XN
Green tickY
Red XN
Red XN
5
Seattle
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
9
UTRGV
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Red XN
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
8
Utah Valley
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Red XN
Red XN
Green tickY
Green tickY
7
Totals
7+2
8
7
7
6+5
3+3
6
7
7
58+10
Future Member
California BaptistGreen tickYGreen tickYGreen tickYGreen tickYGreen tickYGreen tickYRed XNRed XNGreen tickY7
  1. CSUB discontinued men's golf in June, 2017.
  2. Chicago State was expected to add men's soccer by 2014. The school budgeted the sport for the 2016–17 school year. However, the ongoing State of Illinois budgetary crisis and the school's own critical financial problems have set this back once more. With the school's current financial situation and the needs of the athletic program, in April 2016, the University Budget Committee recommended that the Athletic Department "... study the benefits of being Division I or another division." [64]
  3. Affiliates Northern Colorado and Sacramento State.
  4. Affiliates Air Force, Houston Baptist, Incarnate Word, San Jose State, and UNLV.
  5. Affiliates Air Force, UNLV, and Wyoming.

Men's varsity sports not sponsored by the Western Athletic Conference which are played by WAC schools

SchoolFootballVolleyballWater PoloWrestling
Cal State BakersfieldNoNoNoPac-12
Grand CanyonNoMPSFNoNo
New Mexico StateSun Belt
(FBS independent in 2018)
NoNoNo
Utah ValleyNoNoNoBig 12
California BaptistNoNoWWPANo
  1. California Baptist sponsored men's volleyball when it was announced as an incoming member, playing that sport in the MPSF, but dropped the sport after the 2017 season.[65]

Women's sponsored sports by school

SchoolBasketballCross
Country
GolfSoccerSoftballSwimming
& Diving
TennisTrack & Field
(Indoor)
Track & Field
(Outdoor)
VolleyballTotal
WAC Sports
Cal State Bakersfield
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Red XN
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
9
Chicago State
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Red XN
Red XN
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
8
Grand Canyon
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
10
UMKC
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Red XN
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
9
New Mexico State
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
10
Seattle
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
10
UTRGV
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Red XN
Red XN
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
8
Utah Valley
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
Red XN
Red XN
Green tickY
Green tickY
Green tickY
8
Totals
8
8
8
8
6
4+2
6
8
8
8
72+2
Future Member
California BaptistGreen tickYGreen tickYGreen tickYGreen tickYGreen tickYGreen tickYRed XNRed XNGreen tickYGreen tickY8
  1. Affiliates Northern Arizona and Northern Colorado.

Women's varsity sports not sponsored by the Western Athletic Conference which are played by WAC schools

SchoolBeach VolleyballEquestrianRowingWater Polo
Cal State BakersfieldIndependentNoNoNo
Grand CanyonIndependentNoNoNo
New Mexico StateNoIndependentNoNo
SeattleNoNoWIRANo
California BaptistNoNoNoGCC
  1. CSUB discontinued women's water polo in June, 2017, redistributing its funding to other sports.[66]
  2. At the time California Baptist announced the demise of its men's volleyball program, it also announced that it would replace that sport with beach volleyball. No date for the start of play has been set.[65]

Football

The WAC sponsored football from its founding in 1962 through the 2012 season. However, the defection of all but two football-playing schools to other conferences caused the conference to drop sponsorship after fifty-one years.[39]

Men's basketball

TeamFirst
Season
All-Time
Record
All-Time
Win %
NCAA Tournament
Appearances
NCAA Tournament
Record
ArenaHead Coach
New Mexico State19051329–1018–2.5661810–20Pan American CenterChris Jans
Seattle1946978–874.5281110–13KeyArenaCameron Dollar
Utah Valley2004 [224]109–62[224].63700–0UCCU CenterDick Hunsaker

WAC tournament

Rivalries

Men's basketball rivalries involving WAC teams include:

TeamsMeetingsRecordSeries LeaderCurrent Streak
New Mexico StateNew Mexico20895–113New MexicoNew Mexico State Won 2
New Mexico StateUTEP200102–98New Mexico StateNew Mexico State Won 6

Awards

Women's basketball

TeamFirst
Season
All-Time
Record
All-Time
Win %
NCAA Tournament
Appearances
NCAA Tournament
Record
ArenaHead Coach
New Mexico State1973437–406.51840–4Pan American CenterMark Trakh
Seattle1978.00–0Connolly CenterJoan Bonvicini

WAC tournament

Rivalries

Women's basketball rivalries involving WAC teams include:

TeamsMeetingsRecordSeries LeaderCurrent Streak

Baseball

The WAC has claimed seven NCAA baseball national championships. The most recent WAC national champion is the 2008 Fresno State Bulldogs baseball team.

WAC tournament

Championships

Current champions

Source:[51]

  • For the sports in which the WAC recognizes both a regular-season and a postseason champion:
    • (RS) indicates regular-season champion.
    • (P) indicates postseason champion.
  • For other sports, only a postseason champion is recognized.
SeasonSportMen's championWomen's champion
Fall 2016Cross countryUMKCUtah Valley
SoccerUtah Valley (RS)
UNLV (P)
Seattle (RS & P)
VolleyballNew Mexico State (RS)
UTRGV (P)
Winter 2016–17Indoor Track & FieldGrand CanyonGrand Canyon
Swimming & DivingAir ForceNorthern Arizona
BasketballCSU Bakersfield (RS)
New Mexico State (P)
New Mexico State (RS & P)
Spring 2017GolfSeattleNew Mexico State
TennisNew Mexico State (RS)
UMKC (P)
Grand Canyon (RS)
UMKC (P)
SoftballGrand Canyon (RS)
New Mexico State (P)
Outdoor Track & FieldUMKCUMKC
BaseballGrand Canyon(RS)
Sacramento St (P)

National championships

The following teams have won NCAA national championships while being a member of the WAC:

The WAC has also produced one AP national champion in football:

The following teams won AIAW (and forerunner DGWS) women's national championships while their universities were members of the WAC:

  • Arizona State (15) – swimming (8), badminton (4), softball (2), golf (1)
  • Utah (3) – cross country (Div. II), gymnastics, skiing
  • UTEP (1) – indoor track and field

Facilities

Future member California Baptist in gray.

SchoolSoccer stadiumCapacityBasketball arenaCapacitySoftball parkCapacityBaseball parkCapacity
Full members
Cal State BakersfieldCSUB Main Soccer Field2,500Icardo Center /
Rabobank Arena
3,800 / 10,000Roadrunner Softball Complex500[52]Hardt Field*900
California BaptistCBU Soccer FieldN/ACBU Events Center5,200[67]John C. Funk Stadium500[68]James W. Totman Stadium800[68]
Chicago StateKroc Stadium500Jones Convocation Center7,000
Non-softball school
Chicago State University
Baseball Stadium
1,000[9]
Grand CanyonGCU Soccer Field2,800 seats
6,000 cap.
GCU Arena7,000[12]Stapleton-Pierson Stadium300[55]Brazell Stadium1,500
UMKCDurwood Soccer Stadium850Municipal Auditorium9,987[62]Missouri 3&2 Complex350
Non-baseball school
New Mexico StateAggie Soccer Field1,253Pan American Center12,482[62]NMSU Softball Complex1,050Presley Askew Field1,000
SeattleChampionship Field650KeyArena17,072Logan Field at Seattle University Park250Bannerwood Park700[62]
UTRGVUTRGV Soccer and Track & Field Complex[62]1,555UTRGV Fieldhouse2,500[62]
Non-softball school
UTRGV Baseball Stadium4,000
Utah ValleyClyde Field1,000UCCU Center8,500Wolverine Field500Brent Brown Ballpark5,000
  • Note: KeyArena is configured for 8,901 capacity for Seattle games. Seattle U also plays multiple home games at the Connolly Center (capacity 999) during the season as well.
SchoolSoccer stadiumCapacityBaseball parkCapacity
Affiliate members
Air ForceUSAFA Soccer Stadium1,000Soccer-only member
Houston BaptistSorrels Field500Soccer-only member
Incarnate WordGayle and Tom Benson Stadium6,000Soccer-only member
UNLVPeter Johann Memorial Field2,500Soccer-only member
Northern ColoradoBaseball-only memberJackson Field1,500
Sacramento StateBaseball-only memberJohn Smith Field*1,200
San Jose State500[62]Soccer-only member

Awards

Commissioner's Cup

The WAC awards its Commissioner's Cup to the school that performs the best in each of the conference's 19 men's and women's championships.

Joe Kearney Award

Named in honor of former WAC commissioner Dr. Joseph Kearney, the awards are given annually to the top male and female WAC athlete. The various WAC member institutions Athletics Directors select the male award winner, while the WAC member instituitions Senior Women's Administrators choose the female honoree.

Stan Bates Award

The award is named in honor of former WAC Commissioner Stan Bates and honors the WAC's top male and female scholar-athletes, recognizing the recipients’ athletic and academic accomplishments. In addition, the awards carry a $3,000 postgraduate scholarship.

Media

WAC Digital Network

In 2014–15, the WAC initiated a new digital network to give fans high quality streaming internet access to many of its regular season games and postseason championships including volleyball, soccer, swimming and diving, basketball, softball and baseball. [62]