As the WAC figures out its next step, one school that commissioner Karl Benson discussed about becoming a potential member is UT-San Antonio. The school begins play next season on the FCS level under former Miami coach Larry Coker. But in June 2012, UTSA plans to notify the NCAA it wants to begin play on the FBS level in 2014.
While Benson said identifying teams already in FBS would be a priority, he did not rule out adding schools that intend to join FBS. UTSA would fulfill the transitional requirements that go along with moving up a division and would be bowl eligible in 2015.
Athletic director Lynn Hickey has had discussions with Benson, but realizes what happens is out of her control.
"The fastest we can go is to declare in June 2012 that we want to move to FBS, that year we really need to have an idea that we can either be independent or have a new conference home with that time line in mind," Hickey said in a phone interview Friday. "We've got a little bit of time. The difficulty of the conference situation right now is so fluid. It's not only day-to-day but hour-to-hour, so there’s just so many things out there we can’t control."
UTSA had planned to play as an independent on the FCS level while searching for an FBS conference. But the Southland Conference passed a new rule in June that says all members must have its varsity sports within the league. The school must make a decision next July about whether it wants to stay in the Southland with football included, go independent, or find a new conference and stay independent in football.
There also is potential NCAA legislation that says an FCS school cannot move to FBS unless they have an invitation to a conference, but that legislation has not even left committee.
Hickey said she has been in talks with several other conferences about finding a home. Benson mentioned the importance of the state of Texas to the WAC's future -- if the conference is able to survive the latest round of shakeups.
"Everything is in their court," Hickey said. "It was quite honestly an honor for our name to be mentioned in the press conference (Benson) had, but our role right now is to make sure we’re going forward with our plans and making sure we have put in the ground work and laid the foundation so if an opportunity does come up that we are seen as an asset and seen as an institution that another group of schools would like. In the meantime, we're in a good conference."