Dixie State will cap its move to Division I athletics by joining the Western Athletic Conference

Members of the Canyon View High School marching band perform on the field at Hansen Stadium on the campus of Dixie State University Friday, Nov. 1, 2013 during the Utah Music Educators Association's Red Rocks Marching Band Invitational.

Dixie State will complete its quest to become a Division I school by joining the Western Athletic Conference, the university announced Friday.

The move will become effective July 1, 2020 and the Trailblazers will begin WAC play in the 2020-2021 season.

“Several factors make Dixie State University a great fit for the WAC,” Commissioner Jeff Hurd said in a news release. “Commitment to quality academics and athletics programs, along with the long-term vision that [DSU] President [Richard B.] Williams has for the university’s growth, are at the top of the list. I have no doubt that Dixie State will make a smooth transition to Division I and to the WAC.”

Dixie State will not immediately be eligible for a WAC postseason berth in most sports, where the winner automatically qualifies for an NCAA championship. However, the university’s cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field teams will be eligible for conference championships in 2020-2021.

The change makes DSU the ninth university in the WAC, joining new in-state rival Utah Valley, California Baptist University, Chicago State University, Grand Canyon University, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, New Mexico State University, Seattle University and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

“The university has a growing student body and is investing in excellence in their academic and athletic programs,” said Brian Mueller, president of Grand Canyon University and chairman of the WAC’s Board of Directors. “They have some outstanding athletic facilities, including a Division I level basketball arena. Like Grand Canyon and California Baptist, Dixie State will be competitive immediately and will be a strong contributor to the continued growth of the Western Athletic Conference.”

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