By CALIFORNIAN NEWS SERVICES
DENVER -- The Western Athletic Conference on Wednesday announced that Chicago State has accepted an invitation to join the conference effective July 1, 2013.
Chicago State joins Cal State Bakersfield, Utah Valley University and Grand Canyon University as new members.
The WAC also has extended an invitation for membership to Texas-Pan American, which is likely to accept but is awaiting approval from its board of directors. Excluding Pan American, the WAC will have seven members in its conference for 2013-14.
The NCAA requires conferences to have at least seven members in order to have automatic qualifying status for NCAA postseason.
Grand Canyon, currently a Division II member, won't count toward the seven until it completes a four-year reclassification process to move from Division II to Division I.
The NCAA has granted the WAC a two-year waiver of the seven-member requirement for automatic qualifying purposes, allowing it to have six members and retain its automatic qualifying status.
Should Pan American accept its membership offer, the WAC would have eight members (seven that count as D-1 members) next year.
Current WAC members who will be in the conference in 2013-14 are Idaho, New Mexico State and Seattle.
Idaho will leave the WAC after 2013-14 to join the Big Sky Conference in all sports except football, and New Mexico State is actively trying to find another conference home but has been unsuccessful.