The Western Athletic Conference announced Thursday it has lifted the league's moratorium on expansion, opening the door for the possible addition of as many as three new members.

The WAC Presidents Council approved the action by mail vote, coming on the heels of a recommendation made last July by the league's conference council."Lifting the moratorium on expansion does not mean that expansion is imminent," sid Dr. Diana Natalicio of Texas-El Paso, head of the Presidents Council. "It means an orderly process regarding the possibility of expansion has been mandated with a maximum of input and information required before any further steps are taken.

"The goal of the conference is to move in a studied, orderly and careful manner."

Wyoming President Dr. Terry Roark has been named to chair an expansion committee to study conference size and alignment. Other committee members are Dr. Rex Lee of Brigham Young and Dr. Al Simone of Hawaii.

"If it then was the desire of the conference to expand, the next step would be to develop a listing of qualifications for potential future members," WAC Commission Joe Kearney said. "That would be followed by the identification of those potential future members that fit the qualifications, and then it would be determined who among the list of potential members would be interested in WAC membership."

Fresno State, San Jose State and Nevada-Las Vegas - all current members of the Big West Conference - have been mentioned as possible candidates for WAC expansion.

"The earliest a potential new member could be added would be for the 1992-93 year, but it would be more likely for the 1993-94 year," Kearney said.

"Also, it may well be the final recommendation of the committee would be to not expand, and obviously the presidents have the options to reinstate the moratorium on expansion at any time."

The WAC currently has nine member schools.