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UVU enters WAC era with pride and a few predicaments

School looks for new revenue as it climbs NCAA ladder.



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Utah Valley said let us in and in three years we’ll have football. For now, though, the window is closed.

"I don’t ever want to take it off the table, but in the short term, it doesn’t make sense," said Holland, listing revenue eaters such as scholarships, coaches’ salaries and a venue in which to play.

At a glance

Utah Valley University growth chart

1941 » Opens as Central Utah Vocational School.

1967 » Renamed Utah Technical College.

1977 » Moves to present location next to Interstate 15.

1987 » Renamed Utah Valley Community College.

1993 » Renamed Utah Valley State College.

2000 » Women’s softball team wins NJCAA title.

2002-03 » Begins seven-year provisional steps toward Division I status.

2003-04 » Teams begin competing with partial Division I schedules.

2005 » Ronnie Price is named Division I Independent Basketball Player of the Year.

2007 » Renamed Utah Valley University.

2008 » Joins Great West Conference.

2009 » Becomes full-fledged member of the NCAA.

2011 » Wrestler Ben Kjar becomes school’s first All-American.

2012 » Men’s basketball team is selected to first postseason tournament, the CIT.

2013 » Joins the Western Athletic Conference.

2014 » Men’s soccer program begins.

UVU facilities

» UCCU Center (men’s and women’s basketball), seats 8,500

» Activity Center (women’s volleyball, wrestling)

» Brent Brown Stadium (baseball)

» Hal Wing Track

» Wolverine Field (softball)

» Clyde Field (men’s and women’s soccer)

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"I know the students would be enthusiastic … [but] during my term, probably not."

Not everyone is enamored with football.

"That’s a whole other ball game," said former Utah Jazz guard Ronnie Price, UVU’s most famous athletic alum, who keeps tabs on school progress. "A lot of schools that don’t have football compete on the D-1 level."

Utah Valley was a junior college when Price started playing for Hunsaker as a sophomore. The school began its transition to Division I status the next season.

Now, men’s basketball is the school’s showcase, which brings its own pressures and expectations.

"The [WAC] is a big deal," Price said. "To be there when we were fighting for a JUCO championship and now be Division I in a notable conference is saying a lot for what the university and its representatives have done."

Hunsaker, who has had past success at Ball State and Utah, certainly knows what is ahead. He’s now competing with New Mexico State and not the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He took the position knowing this day would eventually come.

"Our ability to compete is more of a long-term problem," he said. "We want to push forward in a responsible manner. I speak for all of our coaches.


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"Overall, this is a wonderful time."

martyr@sltrib.com

Twitter@tribmarty



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