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UTPA Athletics Accepts Invitation to Join WAC Starting in 2013-14




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Dec. 19, 2012 -- EDINBURG, Texas -- The University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced in a press conference on Wednesday that they have formally accepted an invitation to join the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in all sports effective July 1, 2013. "Joining the WAC is a wonderful opportunity for UT-Pan American," UTPA President Dr. Robert S. Nelsen said. " Our students will finally have a voice in NCAA decisions. They will also have an opportunity to compete for national championships. Our student-athletes and our coaches have worked very hard to get us to this point in time. I am very proud of them." The WAC membership for 2013-14 is currently scheduled to include UTPA, California State University Bakersfield, Chicago State University, the University of Idaho, New Mexico State University, Seattle University and Utah Valley University, as well as associate members Sacramento State University in baseball, the University of Northern Colorado in baseball and women's swimming and diving, the University of North Dakota in women's swimming and diving, and Northern Arizona University in women's swimming and diving. The WAC sponsors all 14 of the Broncs' current sports, including men's and women's cross country, women's volleyball, men's and women's basketball, baseball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's golf, and men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and field. All of the Broncs teams have been competing in the Great West Conference since the 2009-10 season, with the exception of men's tennis, which is a member of the Southland Conference, and men's golf, which is part of the America Sky Conference. For the first time since the 1997-98 season, when the Broncs were members of the Sun Belt Conference, UTPA women's volleyball, men's and women's basketball, baseball, women's tennis and women's golf will be able to compete for an automatic qualifier into the NCAA Tournament. Men's tennis and men's golf are currently able to compete for automatic qualifiers in the Southland Conference and America Sky Conference, respectively. Cross country and track and field qualifiers are based on times and distances, not conference championships. "This is a defining moment in the history of UTPA Athletics, and it has been a long time coming. We have been working hard for the last few years to transform this department into one that is no longer content with simply being at the Division I level, but instead has a strong group of student-athletes and coaches who can help us compete for championships while excelling in the classroom and the community. This is another step in that transformation process," UTPA Director of Athletics Chris King said. "Aligning ourselves with a nationally recognized and well-branded conference such as the WAC will allow us to gain national exposure for both UTPA and the entire Rio Grande Valley."



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UTPA Athletics Accepts Invitation to Join WAC Starting in 2013-14