While other conferences become stronger, WAC appears weaker

Conference realignment has been a topic of conversation for at least two years. So much has happened since the beginning in which Nebraska left the Big 12 to join the Big 10 that it’s almost hard to keep up with everything that followed (although you can find a pretty up-to-date, useful and thorough explanation here).

For me, I started following conference realignment news closely when Boise State announced its intention to leave the Western Athletic Conference and join the Mountain West Conference. Initially, after Texas State students approved a referendum for a move to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2007, I didn’t think the Bobcats would be invited to join any conference. Several factors played into this, especially the lack of attendance at home games, which was one of the major benchmarks the university needed to meet to come anywhere close to playing in the FBS.

For awhile, I thought Texas State might get an invitation to join the Sun Belt Conference. It made some sense geographically, but it wasn’t ideal to me. In my fantasy sports world, I’d hoped Texas State would join Conference-USA and establish rivals against schools like Rice and Houston. But with the Bobcats’ lack to put even 15,000 fans in the stands when Houston had nearly twice that number at Robertson Stadium against opponents, I figured my dreams of seeing Texas State in C-USA would never come true.

And then two major factors came into play: WAC teams were dropping like flies in the summer of 2010, which led people to believe the WAC would fold. The second factor? Texas-San Antonio not only started building a football team — the university gained a huge advantage in its hope to play in the FBS by hiring on Larry Coker in 2009, who led the Hurricanes to a national title in 2001.

Once these factors came into play, WAC commissioner Karl Benson made swift moves by inviting Texas State, Texas-San Antonio and Denver (a non-football school) to the WAC. While Texas State had reached its goals of playing in the FBS, the reality was the WAC was — and still is — struggling to remain a conference with just seven of its 10 future members having football programs.

Fast forward almost a year later, and after more conference realignment moves, C-USA and the MWC announce they’re joining forces, another move that makes the WAC appear even weaker. What school wants to join a conference in which its longtime members have left to join a “mega-conference?”

With this recent news and other factors in play, I don’t see a bright future for the WAC, but I hope for the opposite with Texas State and Texas-San Antonio. Can the WAC survive? Could the Bobcats switch conferences? What are your thoughts?

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About LisaKCarter

I'm a graduate student at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. I'm also a Texas State alumna and former reporter in Las Vegas. During my time at Texas State, I served at the University Star's sports editor all four years. I've covered football, volleyball, cross country, basketball and golf. One of my biggest accomplishments was breaking the story on Texas State's move to the Football Bowl Subdivision and its invitation to the Western Athletic Conference -- arguably the biggest news in Texas State Athletics history and a story I followed since my first semester on staff. I also worked for publications outside of the Star, covering high school sports for various local papers. Additionally, I was an intern on the metro desk at the San Antonio Express-News in Summer 2010 where I had several stories run on the Metro cover and front page. I interned on the business desk at the Austin American-Statesman and at NearSay, a website that focuses on hyperlocal news in New York City. After graduation, I was one of 22 students selected to attend the Poynter Fellowship for College Journalists, and it was the best experience of my life. When I'm not writing, you'll most likely find me reading, watching sports or working out. Follow me as I embark on my professional career in journalism.

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