The Western Athletic Conference today announced that it would be adding the sport of men’s soccer beginning with the 2013 fall season, but NMSU officials have told Local 4 that they will not seek to participate in Men's Soccer at this time.
Next year’s WAC membership includes three schools that sponsor men’s soccer; CSU Bakersfield, Grand Canyon and Seattle. Joining these schools will be affiliate members Air Force, Houston Baptist, UNLV and San Jose State giving the WAC seven teams in 2013.
Recent NCAA tournament appearances include Air Force this past season and CSU Bakersfield in 2011. Three of the schools won Division II national championships during their history: Seattle (2004), CSU Bakersfield (1997) and Grand Canyon (1996).
A complete conference schedule and tournament information will be announced at a later date. As a reclassifying institution, Grand Canyon will not be eligible for postseason play until 2017.
“The addition of men’s soccer is part of the WAC’s evolution,” said Jeff Hurd, WAC Interim Commissioner. “We look forward to working with these institutions to provide a solid, competitive home for their men’s soccer programs.”
This will be the second time that the WAC has sponsored men’s soccer as the sport was part of the conference from 1996-1999. Air Force and UNLV competed in the WAC the first three years while San Jose State’s team competed in all four of those seasons.
The addition of the team sport assures the WAC maintains its Division I status as it makes the transition from an FBS conference to a Division I conference. The NCAA requires a Division I conference to sponsor at least three men’s and women’s team sports among other requirements. Men’s soccer will join basketball and baseball to give the WAC three men’s team sports to go along with volleyball, basketball and soccer as women’s team sports.