Friday, January 27, 2023

Hawaii joins exodus of WAC

by Jaymes Song
| December 11, 2010 8:00 PM

HONOLULU - The University of Hawaii is joining the Mountain West Conference for football and the Big West in other sports, abandoning the Western Athletic Conference after 32 years.

School President M.R.C. Greenwood said Friday that Hawaii will make the move in 2012, following Boise State, Nevada and Fresno State to the MWC.

The four schools represent the top football programs in the WAC, which is adding Texas-San Antonio, Texas State and the University of Denver on July 1, 2012. Denver doesn't have a football team.

The remaining WAC members are San Jose State, Idaho, New Mexico State, Louisiana Tech and Utah State.

School leaders at the MWC and Big West voted unanimously in favor of inviting Hawaii, which has been in the WAC since 1979.

"We're headed in a new direction and this is a really a historic and great day for the University of Hawaii," athletics director Jim Donovan said. "This is what our coaches and our fans want and we delivered."

Hawaii will become the 10th member of the MWC and will renew rivalries with former WAC schools. MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson welcomed the Warriors to the league, which is losing Utah to the Pac-10, TCU to the Big East and BYU becoming an independent.

"Hawaii's outstanding football program and television value fit perfectly with the MWC's strategic initiatives for the future direction of the conference," Thompson said in a statement.

The 24th-ranked Warriors are the WAC's longest-running member and shared the conference football title with No. 10 Boise State and No. 13 Nevada this year.

WAC Commissioner Karl Benson had no response to the announcement.

Donovan expressed concern that the WAC was moving toward the Central Time Zone with the addition of the Texas schools, which would've increased travel costs for Hawaii along with student-athletes spending more time away from school.

He said the TV agreements still need to be worked out. Other financial details weren't disclosed, but Donovan said, "We couldn't afford not to do it."

Recent Headlines