WAC waits to add another football school

The WAC added Seattle University on Tuesday, but is holding off on inviting another football playing school until at least next season.

Commissioner Karl Benson acknowledged on a conference call that having seven football playing members for the 2012 season was less than ideal, but the league wanted to continue to explore all its options before adding another program. The WAC has been hurt with the departures of Boise State, Nevada, Hawaii and Fresno State to the Mountain West. The league has only added Texas State and UT-San Antonio, two schools that will move up from FCS to FBS to join the WAC.

Benson said the league has been in contact with 10 to 12 schools about future membership, but made a decision in April to hold off on football expansion. He said the economy precluded some of the FCS schools considering a move up from making a quick decision.

"We hope in the next year that the timing will be better," Benson said. "Hopefully a year from now there may be football playing schools ready to make a move to the WAC."

There are still those outside the WAC who wonder about the viability of the league without its premier members, but Benson believes the five members who will remain past 2011 -- Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, Idaho, San Jose State and Utah State -- have the opportunity to become the next Boise State.

"It will be important this year for the five remaining WAC schools to show some success," Benson said. "It will be important for one of those five teams to contend for a WAC championship, to go to a bowl game, to carry the WAC umbrella into the postseason. I've been asked many times what the future holds and I think I've been consistent in saying there isn't any reason one of those schools or perhaps a Texas State or UT-San Antonio can't be the next Boise State.

"Ten years ago when Boise State joined the WAC, I don't think anybody expected Boise State to have the dominance it has had. Looking at the five remaining members of the WAC, I don't see a whole lot of difference between those five programs in 2011 than where Boise State was in 2001. It's very realistic that one of those five schools can indeed be the flag bearer and a national power coming out of the WAC."

As for bowl affiliations, the WAC will retain three tie-ins for 2011. In 2012, there would only be one -- the WAC champ would head to the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho.