The Western Athletic Conference announced Tuesday that California State University, Bakersfield, and Utah Valley University have accepted invitations to join the league as full-time members, effective July 1, 2013.
CSU Bakersfield has been an affiliate member of several leagues since beginning the reclassification process from NCAA Division II and completing the transition to NCAA Division I status in 2010. The Roadrunners, already competing within the WAC in women's swimming and diving and baseball, will bring their men's and women's basketball, women's cross country, men's and women's golf, women's soccer, softball, men's and women's track and field, and volleyball programs to the league starting in the 2013-14 academic year.
Utah Valley has also traveled a long road to NCAA Division I status, starting as a community college until 1993, when the school started granting bachelor's degrees. The Wolverines finally gained full NCAA Division I status in 2009 and has been primarily a member of the Great West Conference for the past five years. Utah Valley will compete within the WAC in baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, women's soccer, softball, men's and women's track and field, and volleyball.
"Cal State Bakersfield and Utah Valley accepting our invitation to join the WAC is good news as our conference looks to a very promising future. These two fine institutions are making significant investments in their athletic programs and we look forward to the many ways they will help the WAC build on its great tradition and national reputation," said Stephen Sundborg, S.J., SU President and Chairman of the WAC Board of Directors.
CSU Bakersfield and Utah Valley join University of Denver, University of Idaho, New Mexico State University, and Seattle University as full members of the Western Athletic Conference in 2013-14.
"We look forward to competing with CSU Bakersfield and Utah Valley within the WAC," said Bill Hogan, SU Director of Athletics. "We are already familiar with both programs in many sports, and the addition of these two schools allows the conference to maintain its automatic qualifier status, which is key for all current league members as we move forward."
The Seattle University athletics department is currently in its first year of full NCAA Division I membership since 1979-80 and is competing within the Western Athletic Conference in 17 sports.