The Mountain West Conference will expand to include Fresno State and Nevada. Both schools will leave the Western Athletic Conference. Fresno State said Wednesday it will join the conference beginning with the 2011-12 academic year. Nevada did not give a timeline.
Earlier this summer, Boise State left the WAC to join the Mountain West. That realignment will be official on July 1, 2011.
Officials at both Nevada and Fresno State indicated they were proud of their time with the WAC and look forward to the competition in the Mountain West.
“The invitation to join the Mountain West Conference is a reflection of the success and tradition that our student-athletes, coaches and staff have demonstrated both academically and athletically,” said Nevada Athletics Director Cary Groth. “It is an honor to join the Mountain West Conference and partner and compete with its outstanding member institutions.
“Our relationship with the Western Athletic Conference has been a good one, and we will greatly miss our colleagues in the WAC. It has always been our goal to work actively to put the University of Nevada in the best position possible, and we are excited to be a part of the Mountain West Conference.”
Fresno State President John Welty said the realignment allows his school to rekindle rivalries the school had as a member of the Big West and WAC.
“Fresno State is honored to accept the invitation to join the Mountain West Conference,” said Welty. “We look forward to competition against some universities we have not faced previously and to renewing rivalries with San Diego State, Colorado State and several other schools that we enjoyed previously.”
Eight institutions founded the Mountain West in 1998, and TCU joined the league in 2005. Utah announced earlier this summer that it would leave the Mountain West to join the Pacific-10.
The changes leave the WAC with six schools, the minimum number to retain NCAA voting privileges and automatic qualification opportunities to NCAA championships.
Conference realignment at a glance
|School||Current conference||New conference|
|Boise State||Western Athletic Conference||Mountain West Conference|
|Nebraska||Big 12 Conference||Big Ten Conference|
|Colorado||Big 12 Conference||Pacific-10 Conference|
|Utah||Mountain West Conference||Pacific-10 Conference|
|Fresno State||Western Athletic Conference||Mountain West Conference|
|Nevada||Western Athletic Conference||Mountain West Conference|