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WAC Conference Realignment Solution As Football-only Conference Hopes Dashed!

                Conference realignment is in the news again as the NCAA has struck down the dreams of the Western Athletic Conference or WAC and the ASUN of forming a football-only conference. Is it time for the conferences to get serious and merge for an all-sports conference? Now, there are different ways for this to be accomplished.

Current WAC And ASUN Breakdown

Of the schools listed, the schools with the asterisk either sponsor or will sponsor football. The goal for the merger of the WAC and ASUN as a football-only conference is in the Football Bowl Subdivision as opposed to its current designation of Football Championship Subdivision.

Multi-Sport Conferences

                Conference Realignment could take various directions from this point. My suggestion is for the WAC and ASUN to merge completely and possibly split into football and non-football conferences. The ASUN investigated a similar plan not too long ago.  In this plan, they were going to expand to approximately twenty members and then transfer its rights and name to a non-football/basketball Division I conference of the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association. They would then spin off into two separate conferences.

This plan never materialized because at the time New Jersey IT announced its move to the more travel-friendly American East. Now the problem is neither league has seven members that have been members for at least 8 seasons as of the 2023-24 season, to spin off to create a league.  Now combining the two conferences and splitting them into an all-sports football conference and an all-sports non-football conference would take applications and contacts to the NCAA, but the football-playing schools have already spent time on the creation of a one-sport conference.

So, let us just create two all-sports conferences, one with football, and one without. This would leave a neat fit for a football and non-football conference. Such a setup would look something like this.  The only issue would be geography, but the football schools were already committed to such a plan. This would just create two all-sports conferences and, if the football conference took the Western Athletic name, and the non-football took the ASUN name.

This would also prevent the NCAA from denying the addition of a new conference. One minus of this plan is the travel costs associated with each conference, especially when figuring out non-revenue sports in each league. This is a common-sense plan that both leagues should sit down and look at to solve their membership issues and football sponsorship issues.

This setup would allow the two leagues full autonomy for members having or not having football. The problems of travel could be lessened with a scheduling alliance between the conferences to allow the scheduling of the other conferences’ members. This will also allow each conference to focus on its members’ needs based on sponsoring football or not sponsoring it. Keep like members together and support them more efficiently.

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