ATLANTA (January 16, 2021) – When the Western Athletic Conference announced on January 14, the addition of five new member-institutions and the reinstatement of football as a championship sport, it marked the culmination of work that had begun 15 months prior. In October 2019, Collegiate Consulting partnered with the WAC to conduct a football feasibility study. The purpose of the study was to determine the feasibility of offering football at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
The WAC had sponsored football starting in 1962, but was forced to drop football in 2012 due to the defection of a majority of its membership to the Mountain West Conference. During its 50-year tenure, the WAC has a storied football history. Utah was the first WAC school to participate and win a bowl game in 1964. Exactly 20 years later, BYU earns the conference’s only national football championship. In 1995 and 2010, three WAC football teams were ranked in the final top-25. The WAC has had a total of 13 top-ten finishes.
· Air Force – #8 (1985)
· Arizona State – #6, #8, #9, #2 (1970, 1971, 1973, 1975)
· Boise State – #5, #4, #9, #8 (2006, 2009, 2010, 2011)
· BYU – #1, #5, #7 (1984, 1983, 1996)
· Wyoming – #6 (1967)
Through our project with the WAC, which was completed in March 2020, Collegiate Consulting examined all the elements that would be required to create a football conference. The first step was researching the NCAA requirements for offering football at the FCS level as a conference championship sport. Collegiate Consulting developed a list of potential target institutions, which included Division II programs, current FCS programs and institutions that had expressed interest in starting football. The initial list of 10 institutions expanded to 14 and included new members Tarleton State and Dixie State as well as the five recently added institutions.
Collegiate Consulting developed a comprehensive benchmarking assessment of each institution’s football program, including scholarships; football staffing & salaries; sports operating budgets; competitiveness; history; attendance and facilities. The final component of the study was development of sample schedules, timeline for start of WAC football, recruitment strategy and estimation of each school’s likelihood to join the WAC.