It’s been one of the most talked about subjects of the college football off-season, and finally today, what was thought to be merely a formality has become true.
The Western Athletic Conference will cease to compete in college football beginning with the 2013-2014 season according to the statement released by Interim Commissioner Jeff Hurd earlier today:
I think that sometime in late July it became apparent that it was unlikely we could continue with football. We looked at every option we could think of. With the geography we have in terms of schools, it presents a challenge.
The death of WAC football was a simple matter of supply and demand– and the conference flat out had neither.
With several conference staples leaving for greener pastures in 2013– including the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, San Jose State Spartans, Utah State Aggies, and the upstart UT-San Antonio Roadrunners– the conference couldn’t replace the teams they were losing fast enough to plug the holes.
The WAC’s post-mortem was already being written by Interim Commissioner Hurd, who mentioned earlier in the summer that it was possible the conference may cease football operations in 2013 barring a miraculous turn-around which didn’t appear to be in the cards.
The conference’s two remaining teams, the Idaho Vandals and New Mexico State Aggies, had already been searching for new conference homes at the time of Hurd’s original statement, and it’s reasonable to assume these efforts will now be greatly intensified.
The WAC would have needed to secure five new members to have the NCAA-mandated minimum of seven to be able to continue with competition for the 2013-2014 season and there weren’t that many programs nationally, much less regionally, that were looking for new homes.
It’s a sad day for a conference that has certainly endured its share of turnover and uncertainty in the past few seasons.
In the constantly evolving landscape of college football, the WAC’s death isn’t the first and will absolutely not be the last as the drum beat toward a few mega conferences that rule the roost gets louder and louder in the background.
Kris Hughes is the College Football Network Manager for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.
Kris is also the host of Rant Sports Radio on the Blog Talk Radio Network Wednesday evenings at 8 Central Time.