OREM — After coming so close a year ago only to be rejected, the Western Athletic Conference has extended an invite to Utah Valley University for membership.
According to an article in the Daily Herald, “A source close to the school’s athletic department” broke the news early Friday afternoon.
Rumored on Facebook and around the school campus, a formal press conference may be held on Tuesday, Oct. 9, in the UCCU Center. The press conference should reveal more information along with an official statement from the school in regards to the WAC invitation.
The timing all seemed to make sense for the school. UVU athletics director Mike Jacobsen has worked for an invite into a larger conference in the past. Former UVU Review sports editor Matt Petersen last year reported that Utah Valley was rejected and denied an invite into the WAC, following which the confernce accepted Seattle University to fill the spot.
Jacobsen seemed to be dropping hints to the UVU Review earlier last week in regards to the invitation, specifically during an interview with sports contributor Garrett Coleman and news contributor Tyler Gray.
“I’m convinced that in a very, very short period of time, we’re all going to be getting together and having a press conference and be very, very excited about a big, all-sports conference that UVU is going to be a part of," Jacobsen said at the time.
According to these reports, Utah Valley will be leaving the Great West Conference and will begin play in the WAC for the 2013 season. The GWC's current teams include Chicago State University, Houston Baptist University, New Jersey Institute of Technology and University of Texas-Pan America.
Also joining the WAC in the 2013 season will be California State University Bakersfield. UVU and Cal Bakersfield will be joining Idaho, Denver, Seattle and New Mexico State.
Utah Valley is no stranger to GWC championships. If the performance can be matched in the WAC, a first-ever NCAA tournament bid could be in the offing for UVU, something that comes automatically as a WAC Tournament champion.
Calls were made to the athletics department on campus but no further information was given.
“We are not commenting right now on anything and I can’t confirm anything right now,” said Clint Burgi, assistant director for UVU Sports Information. “We are still working everyday as per usual. We have obviously been in contact with the WAC. It’s our goal to join a conference like the WAC.”
Kevin Olsen is the sports editor for the UVU Review at Utah Valley University and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @kvnolsen.