Expansion could bring football back to WAC this fall in FCS

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 16: The Western Athletic Conference logo is shown on the court before the championship game of the Western Athletic Conference basketball tournament between the Grand Canyon Lopes and the New Mexico State Aggies at the Orleans Arena on March 16, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)

HOUSTON (AP) — Football is returning in the Western Athletic Conference. It will be at the Championship Subdivision level this time.

The league announced it would add four schools from the Southland Conference and one from the Big Sky to bring its membership to 13.

The five new members will join Dixie State and Tarleton State in the WAC’s seven-team football league that could begin as soon as this fall.

The new members are Abilene Christian, Lamar, Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin from the Southland and Southern Utah from the Big Sky.

Here is a statement from Southland Conference Commissioner Tom Burnett in response to the Southland schools electing to leave the conference and join the WAC:

“Throughout 2020, some Southland Conference member institutions have actively considered opportunities elsewhere, and that will lead to league realignment in the coming year.  These members have long prospered in the Southland with competitive success, academic achievement, media growth and geographic proximity.  We fully understand the value they bring to another association, and we wish them success and more of the accolades they realized during their long-standing membership here.

“As previously announced, the Southland Conference is enthusiastically engaged in a comprehensive process that strategically focuses on building more success. With a primary focus on our student-athletes and continuing to meet championship expectations, there has been an extraordinary show of unity among our campus leaders, and a recognition that change is good. A reimagined Southland configuration with new regional partner universities is exciting, and our membership is confidently working toward an outstanding outcome.”

Tom Burnett
Southland Conference Commissioner

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