UTPA has been issued an invitation to join the Western Athletic Conference, Broncs Athletic Director Chris King confirmed Thursday morning. The story, first reported in an online edition of The Monitor, is in it's infancy, according to King, who added that a detailed presentation to the University of Texas Board of Regents is the next step to be taken by UTPA.
The WAC, in desperate need of members after the latest realignments in college athletics, issued the invitation on Monday, November 19th, according to King, in his 4th year as AD at Pan-Am. The WAC has no requirement that member schools must have a football program, instead insisting upon core sports of men's & women's basketball, men's & women's soccer, baseball, and volleyball. That would seem to suggest that the Broncs would have to add soccer to it's athletic teams, but, "That's so far down the road we can't even see it right now," said King. "Our next step is bringing this invitation to the UT Board of Regents,as both UTSA and UTA have done recently, and seeing if it's a feasible move."
If the move goes through, it would mean the end of a 15-year drought for UTPA, as in 15 years since the Broncs have belonged to a conference with an automatic qualifier (AQ) to the NCAA Basketball Tournament. A WAC afilliation would ease scheduling for all sports and increase UTPA's national profile, not just on the athletic stage, but as a university as a whole.