College

Thursday, Feb 07 2013 10:57 PM

Missouri-Kansas City to join 'Runners in WAC next season

BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer jevans@bakersfield.com

The Western Athletic Conference has added another team for 2013-14.

Athletic officials from the University of Missouri-Kansas City announced Thursday that the university has accepted an invitation to join the WAC effective this July 1.

Related Info

x-Cal State Bakersfield

x-Chicago State

xy-Grand Canyon

Idaho

x-Missouri-Kansas City

New Mexico State

Seattle

x-Texas-Pan American

x-Utah Valley

Note: x-Starts WAC membership July 1; y-Div. II program going through transition to Div. I

UMKC joins Cal State Bakersfield, Utah Valley, Chicago State, Texas-Pan American and current Division II school Grand Canyon as new WAC members whose membership begins July 1.

Those programs will join existing WAC members Idaho, New Mexico State and Seattle to form a nine-team conference for 2013-14. Idaho is expected to leave the WAC for the Big Sky Conference for 2014-15.

UMKC, a Division I program since 1987, is presently in the Summit League.

"We accepted the invitation to join the Western Athletic Conference because of the strong potential alignment it offers with our strategic objectives related to community engagement and financial strength," UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton said in a release.

"We are extremely pleased with the addition of UMKC to the WAC family," WAC interim commissioner Jeff Hurd said in the UMKC release. "It not only solidifies our membership for the 2013-14 season, but also gives us a strong core of institutions that will help the WAC re-establish itself as a top Division I conference."

UMKC has 16 sports, according to a list on it's athletic web site: seven men's sports (basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, tennis and indoor and outdoor track) and nine women's sports (basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and volleyball).

UMKC officials have scheduled a press conference for Feb. 14 to discuss the WAC move and said they will have no further comment until then.

"It's excellent," CSUB athletic director Jeff Konya said. "I'm thrilled that Missouri-Kansas City is coming in. It allows us to grow our brand in a major metropolitan area."

Konya added: "This is a big move for a program to see us as a destination and we're thrilled they're coming in right away. This gives us a 16-game (conference) schedule for men's and women's basketball. And who knows? Maybe they'll add somebody else."

The WAC also announced Wednesday that Texas-Pan American is adding women's soccer in 2014 and men's soccer in 2015.

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