Men's Soccer Switching To The WAC in 2013|
Jan. 9, 2013
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - The UNLV men's soccer team will be making the move from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation to the Western Athletic Conference beginning in the 2013 fall season, as the WAC announced on Wednesday that it would be adding the sport of men's soccer to the conference.
UNLV had played the previous 14 years in the MPSF, but that league will no longer sponsor the sport as next year's WAC membership will include three schools that sponsor men's soccer: CSU Bakersfield, Grand Canyon and Seattle. Joining these schools will be affiliate members Air Force, Houston Baptist, UNLV and San Jose State giving the WAC seven teams in 2013. CSUB, Seattle, Air Force, Houston Baptist and San Jose State all competed with UNLV in the MPSF in 2012.
Recent NCAA tournament appearances among the new lineup include Air Force this past season and CSU Bakersfield in 2011. Three of the schools won Division II national championships during their history: Seattle (2004), CSU Bakersfield (1997) and Grand Canyon (1996).
A complete conference schedule and tournament information will be announced at a later date. As a reclassifying institution, Grand Canyon will not be eligible for postseason play until 2017.
"We are very grateful for the years of MPSF membership, competitive equity, and hard work of Commissioner Al Baird," said UNLV men's soccer head coach Rich Ryerson. "With the movement of our program to the WAC, we are excited to again partner with Air Force, Seattle, San Jose, Bakersfield and Houston Baptist. The addition of Grand Canyon in the fall and others in 2014 will make for another strong soccer conference."
This will be the second time that the WAC has sponsored men's soccer as the sport was part of the conference from 1996-1999. Air Force and UNLV competed in the WAC the first three years while San Jose State's team competed in all four of those seasons.
"The addition of men's soccer is part of the WAC's evolution," said Jeff Hurd, WAC Interim Commissioner. "We look forward to working with these institutions to provide a solid, competitive home for their men's soccer programs."
The addition of the team sport assures the WAC maintains its Division I status as it makes the transition from an FBS conference to a Division I conference. The NCAA requires a Division I conference to sponsor at least three men's and women's team sports among other requirements. Men's soccer will join basketball and baseball to give the WAC three men's team sports to go along with volleyball, basketball and soccer as women's team sports.