Day ONE in the Western Athletic Conference!

The University of Idaho officially joins the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) today, July 1, 2005, as a full Conference member in all sports. This date marks the first time since 2000 that all of Idaho's men's and women's athletics teams will be competing in the same Conference. As circuitous as the journey has been to this destination, membership in the WAC is already paying dividends with rekindled fan interest, ticket sales, donations, and excitement for the coming season.

Since 1995 Vandal athletics have competed in 4 different athletic conferences: The Big Sky, Big West, Sun Belt, and now the Western Athletic Conference. For the first time in 4 years, the football team will be competing in the same conference as all other Vandal sports.

Idaho's new conference home represents a substantial increase in prestige, and in many cases a boost in competitive level, for virtually every sport. The accomplishments of the WAC in 2004-05 were remarkable and too numerous to list here. Below, however, is a summary of the most significant highlights by WAC member institutions last season:

FOOTBALL - The WAC had 2 teams finish in the AP Top 25 final season poll in 2004, with a third team receiving votes, and sending 4 teams to bowl games.

BASKETBALL (M) - For the second year in a row, the WAC had 2 teams receive invitations to the NCAA tournament.

BASKETBALL (W) - Last season the WAC sent 2 teams to the NCAA tournament.

VOLLEYBALL - The WAC had the #1 ranked team in the nation in 2004, and sent 3 teams to the NCAAs.

GOLF (M) - The WAC sent 3 teams to the NCAA tournament, and one individual in '05.

GOLF (W) - The WAC sent 1 team to the NCAA tournament.

SOCCER - Six WAC athletes were named All Americans, while 2 teams advanced to the NCAA tournament.

SWIMMING & DIVING - The WAC sent 2 teams to the NCAA Championships, both finishing in the Top 20 in the final standings.

TENNIS (M) - The WAC sent 3 teams to the NCAAs.

TENNIS (W) - The WAC sent 1 team to the NCAA tournament.

TRACK & FIELD - The WAC sent 14 men and 17 women to the NCAA outdoor track and field Championships, with 2 athletes claiming National Championships.


In 2005 the WAC, which has morphed significantly for much of the past decade, will take on a new look as the Conference says good-bye to SMU, Rice, Tulsa and UTEP (all bound for Conference USA). Taking the place of these departing programs are the University of Idaho, Utah State University, and New Mexico State University forming the new-look WAC with current members Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii, San Jose State, Louisiana Tech, and Nevada.

In addition to rekindling some old rivalries, the new-look WAC will have a much more Western flavor than in in recent years. For Vandal fans, and in particular Vandal FOOTBALL fans, this western configuration is a welcome sight. Although the accommodations the fledgling Sun Belt Conference made to accept Idaho as a football-only member will always be appreciated, the distance between Moscow and the rest of the conference were taking a toll. The Conference shakeup of 2004 couldn't have come at a more critical time.

The map below gives a general layout of the Western Athletic Conference for 2005:



With 7 of the WAC's 9 members no further east than Utah, the schedules for ALL Vandal sports features competition that is not only familiar to Vandal fans everywhere, but within relatively easy travel distance as well.

In the weeks ahead we will focus our attention on WAC membership while highlighting changes happening at the University of Idaho campus to meet the competitive challenges of our new conference home.

KEY LINKS:

LINK: OFFICIAL WAC Website

LINK: BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY Official Site

LINK: FRESNO STATE UNIVERSITY Official Site

LINK: UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII Official Site

LINK: UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO Official Website

LINK: LOUISIANA TECH UNIVERSITY Official Site

LINK: UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA Official Site

LINK: NEW MEXICO STATE UNIVERSITY Official Site

LINK: SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY Official Site

LINK: UTAH STATE UNIVERSITY Official Website


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