A new era begins today, July 1, 2012, as UT Arlington officially takes up residence in the Western Athletic Conference.
“We are extremely excited about our membership in the Western Athletic Conference,” UT Arlington director of athletics Jim Baker said. “Our coaches and student-athletes are looking forward to competing in a conference that boasts such a rich history of success.”
UT Arlington sponsors 14 Division I intercollegiate sports: baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s golf, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, and women’s volleyball.
The Mavericks join the WAC after nearly 50 years of membership in the Southland Conference. UTA won 55 SLC championships since the start of the 1996-97 academic year. This past spring, 76 Mavericks were named to the Southland Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
“We would again like to express our appreciation and gratitude to the Southland Conference for all of its support over the years,” Baker said.
The WAC is the sixth oldest among the nation’s 11 Division I-A conferences as its history traces back to July 27, 1962, when the original six-team league of Arizona, Arizona State, Brigham Young, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming began competition. The Western Athletic Conference continues to evolve and feature some of the nation’s best intercollegiate competition.
For the 2012-13 season, the WAC added Denver, Seattle, UT Arlington, UTSA and Texas State to replace withdrawing members Boise State (2011), Fresno State (2012), Hawai’i (2012) and Nevada (2012).
One thing that remains unchanged is the persistent nature of the schools in the WAC to advance their programs to contend at the top levels of the NCAA. The conference has sent teams to BCS bowl games in three of the last five seasons including Hawai’i’s appearance in the 2008 Sugar Bowl. In men’s basketball, the WAC has sent at least two teams to the NCAA Tournament in 24 of the past 28 seasons.
One important aspect of the WAC is that it provides its student-athletes the chance to travel to scenic destinations and gain exposure in some of the nation’s most diverse markets. In addition, the WAC’s student-athletes work to achieve the highest levels of success with the academic support of their respective institutions.