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WAC sticking with 8 teams for now

Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson announced Tuesday that the WAC will delay any expansion of its membership until July 1, 2012 at the earliest. This means that for the 2011-12 season, the WAC will operate as an eight-team league that consists of Idaho, Fresno State, Hawaii, Louisiana Tech, Nevada, New Mexico State, San Jose State and Utah State.

Read on for the Associated Press story.

The Western Athletic Conference does not plan to replace departing Boise State for the 2011-12 season.

Commissioner Karl Benson announced on Tuesday that the conference will operate with eight members in 2011-12 and won’t add any new schools until July 1, 2012, at the earliest.

Boise State has accepted an invitation to join the Mountain West Conference after this season.

“Over the past few weeks, the WAC’s Board of Directors and athletics directors have explored several membership options,” Benson said. “We believe it is in the best interest of the WAC to operate as an eight-team league for the 2011-12 season.”

Benson said the league will take several months to look into various membership options before making any decisions for the 2012-13 season.

The WAC’s remaining members are Fresno State, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana Tech, Nevada, New Mexico State, San Jose State and Utah State.

Change has been a constant for the Western Athletic Conference since it was established in 1962.

None of the original members are still in the league and in 1999, after it had expanded to 16 teams, eight of its most prominent programs, including Utah, BYU and Air Force, broke away to form the Mountain West.

Boise State, which joined in 2001, had become the conference’s marquee and most successful football program in recent years. The Broncos have played in the BCS twice.

Benson had said he expected to announce the addition of another member or two some time this summer.

But instead those plans were put on hold. Benson said the league will look at scenarios with various numbers of schools, including a 12-members conference that would allow the WAC to hold a football league championship game.

“The future for the WAC is very bright, and we will continue to provide our student-athletes with the opportunities to compete on both the regional and national stages in all of our sports,” he said.

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