More WAC-ky movement out west

Cary Groth
Cary Groth
John Welty
John Welty

By Mike Cherry - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In a span of 24 hours the Mountain West Conference went from nearly dead (reports of BYU leaving for the WAC) to reborn.

That's because both Fresno State and Nevada both announced they would leave the Western Athletic Conference to join the MWC.

The Bulldogs and Wolf Pack sighted increased revenue and stronger competition for their desire to leave the WAC but also confirmed the ability to move together played a large role in their decisions.

The University of Hawaii is one of six remaining members who are left saying "now what?" With the departure of FSU, UN, and Boise State earlier in the year, the WAC's six remaining schools don't qualify as a conference under NCAA guidelines which require eight members.

UH athletic director Jim Donovan said he plans to explore all options which will include everything from staying in the WAC, finding another conference or obtaining independent status.

"Bottom line we have to do what's best for us. Now, I'll say this is a very tough day for us, but Hawaii's had tough days before and the reality is we're going to work our way through this just like we have in other tough days and we'll come out in a long run in a solution that works for us."

Warrior coach Greg McMackin added that he was shocked when he heard the news: "I thought everything was over you know. By the end of July the team had to notify the WAC if they were leaving. We just need to look at our options. Right now we have this season to go through and that's what we're focusing on."

An instant move will not come without penalty. Fresno State will have to pay $5-million to the WAC as part of an exit clause each WAC school signed following the departure of the Broncos. However, Nevada will not have to adhere to the penalty, because they were the only school which failed to sign the agreement.

What will be negotiable is the starting date for the Bulldogs and Wolf Pack to begin in the MWC. Both schools missed the July deadline the WAC had in place for teams to announce their intentions. Now both institutions will meet with members from both the WAC and MWC to determine if the Fall of 2011 or the Fall of 2012 will mark their debuts.

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