Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

UTSA accepts invitation to join Western Athletic Conference beginning 2012


With the UT board of Regents approval, UTSA accepted an invitation Thursday to join the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) beginning July 1, 2012.  

Also joining UTSA in the WAC will be I-35 rival Texas State and the University of Denver Pioneers, who were members of the Sun Belt Conference.

“It is a great day to be a roadrunner; they extended us an invitation and by noon time the board of regents had approved,” University President Ricardo Romo said.  “I want to thank the people who were the catalyst for this, and that is the students who stepped up and passed the referendums.”

The move to the WAC was announced in front of a capacity crowd in the University Center’s Denman room.  Following opening remarks from President Romo, Athletic Director Lynn Hickey said a few words to the gathered crowd.

“Thank you for this great show of support; this is a great day for Roadrunner athletics, for UTSA, for the city of San Antonio,” Hickey said. “We must first say thank you to Carl Benson, commissioner of the WAC, for offering the invitation.”

Hickey thanked the gathered dignitaries from the community and campus and then thanked the students of UTSA past and present for their work in reaching the goal of a top level athletics program.

“If it wasn’t for the students passing referendums in 2003 and 2007, we would not have this opportunity today,” Hickey said. “What you need to remember is this move isn’t just for football; this move is for the whole campus, for the city for all 16 teams.”

The move to the WAC will not be official until July 1, 2012; until then, the Roadrunners will continue to compete in the Southland Conference.

“We must thank the Southland Conference; we have had almost 20 years as members. It is a great group of schools, we will continue to compete with them the next two years; and we want to have a classy finish with them,” Hickey said.

The WAC is known for quality play on the athletic fields, but it is also known for academic excellence.

“With the invitation that we received today not only will it enhance our school and our program but it will also unite the city of San Antonio,” Hickey said. “We want to become their team; we want to reach out and show the youth that you can graduate from high school and you can go to college.”

For the football program joining the WAC will be a historic move. The Roadrunners will become the first team in NCAA history to move to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) after only one season.

“I don’t know if we know what is happening right now, but we are making history. Hopefully good history for this city; for this university it will be a positive thing,” Head Football Coach Larry Coker said. 

“What a great league for us to join; the places we will, see, the competition we will have, we have to raise our level up, but we know that and we know it will be very exciting.”

The historic jump in 2012 will create an unknown for UTSA, but for the athletic program as a whole this was an opportunity that might not have been available again.

“Ideally we would move in 2013, but you can’t turn down this opportunity. So now we have to move forward and coach and recruit for 2012,” Coker said. 

“We have to be smart about it; we have some good players but we have to get more and we have to get them bigger.”

The move means that UTSA will be bowl eligible beginning in 2012.  On the hardwood, it will give both men’s and women’s teams a better chance at consistent trips to the NCAA tournament.  

Above all, the move to the WAC means UTSA can begin the drive to being a National program. 

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