June 14, 2011
LOGAN, Utah - The Western Athletic Conference today announced that an invitation for membership has been issued to and accepted by Seattle University to join the conference effective July 1, 2012. The announcement comes following the conclusion of the Board of Directors meeting in which the Presidents of both the current schools and the previously announced incoming schools for 2012 met to address several issues important to the present and future of the WAC.
With the addition, the WAC will consist of nine full-time members for the 2012-13 season; Denver (non-football), Idaho, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State, Seattle (non-football), Texas State, UTSA and Utah State.
"We are pleased to announce that Seattle University is joining the WAC," said Commissioner Karl Benson. "Seattle's tradition and history along with a strong commitment to academics, its athletics program and their facilities make the university and its top-15 media market a great fit for the WAC. We look forward to a beneficial and successful relationship."
Seattle U, currently an independent, is a private institution founded in 1891 with an enrollment of 7,751. The Redhawks sponsor 19 sports, 17 of which will compete in the WAC (men's and women's cross country, women's soccer, women's volleyball, women's swimming and diving, men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and field, men's and women's basketball, softball, baseball, men's and women's golf, and men's and women's tennis). The Redhawks were a Division I team from 1950-80 and its men's basketball team advanced to the NCAA title game in 1958 led by Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor. Seattle U returned to the NCAA's top division in 2009 and currently plays its men's basketball games at KeyArena at Seattle Center. Academically, Seattle U received APR Public Recognition Awards this past May for women's soccer, women's tennis, women's outdoor track and field, men's golf and men's cross country as each of those teams had perfect scores of 1000 in the NCAA's measurement of academic success. Also, its student-athletes have maintained a 3.1 GPA over the last four years.
In other action at the WAC's Board of Directors meeting:
Utah State president Dr. Stan Albrecht, the chair of the Board of the Directors, will again serve in the same position for the 2011-12 academic year.
Determined that the men's and women's basketball tournament will return to Las Vegas and the Orleans Arena for the 2011-12 season. The WAC's marquee postseason event made its first appearance at the Orleans this past March, the first truly neutral site for the tournament in league history.
Confirmed the addition of three affiliates in various sports for the 2011-12 season: Brigham Young (softball), North Dakota (women's swimming and diving) and Denver (gymnastics).
Utah State Quotes on the WAC's Addition of Seattle University
"Moving forward our University's position hasn't changed. The WAC's long-term viability and growth must come in adding football playing members. There are numerous factors that come into play with expansion, but football must be our first priority. We have a relatively stable conference situation and Seattle will add to that. They have a storied basketball history. We welcome Seattle and look forward to competing with them."
- USU Athletics Director Scott Barnes
"My preference is the same as our administration at Utah State and that is to add football playing schools to the WAC. However, the addition of Seattle University will get us back to nine teams in basketball, which is where we have been for the six years we've been in the WAC. It helps scheduling and many will remember the great basketball tradition Seattle has going back to the Elgin Baylor days."
- USU head men's basketball coach Stew Morrill
"We welcome Seattle University to the WAC with open arms. The combination of their academic reputation and their athletic department's commitment to development are attractive. We are excited by the experience that head coach Joan Bonvicini brings to the league with her Final Four appearance at Long Beach State and great tradition of success at Arizona. With her amount of coaching experience, she brings great depth to the WAC."
- USU head women's basketball coach Raegan Pebley
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