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UVU to the WAC? School in talks with league, AD says

Published January 21, 2011 6:12 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utah Valley University is in preliminary talks with the Western Athletic Conference and could potentially join the WAC as a non-football member, UVU athletics director Michael V. Jacobson told The Salt Lake Tribune on Friday.

Jacobson confirmed that the two sides talked as recently as "a few days ago" about UVU's possible move to a conference that's been hit hard by defection over the past six months. The WAC has already lost Boise State, which will join the Mountain West Conference next season.

Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii will leave the WAC after next year to join the MWC. In response, WAC commissioner Karl Benson added Denver, Texas San-Antonio and Texas State. Denver is a non-football addition.

"It's a fluid situation," Jacobson told The Tribune. "We would be very interested in joining the WAC. That's been a great conference for a long time. It certainly has great history. Right now we just have to see how things go."

What this would mean for Utah State is unclear. USU has been in talks with the Mountain West for months. The MWC Board of Directors will meet in Las Vegas on Monday and Tuesday. According to multiple sources, expansion will be on the agenda. The conference may decide whether to expand beyond 10 members.

According to Jacobson, UVU and the WAC have been talking on and off during the past four years. UVU is attractive to the WAC, in part, because it would provide Utah State with a travel partner, with the schools being two hours apart. Currently, Nevada and Boise State are the two closest schools to USU.

UVU's possible inclusion to the WAC won't hinge on USU staying or leaving, according to sources. Even so, the WAC's situation is far from settled. In addition to Utah State, Idaho, San Jose State and New Mexico State have all had contact with the Mountain West.

Should Utah Valley join the WAC, it would represent a meteoric rise into the world of Division I athletics for a school that was a junior college just a few years ago.

UVU was a junior college as recently as the 2002-03 season. After a seven-year provisional period, Utah Valley gained full status as a Division I member in 2009.

tjones@sltrib.comtwitter: @tonyaggieville