Chicago State University Joins Western Athletic Conference
CHICAGO (December 5, 2012) - Chicago State University President Dr. Wayne D. Watson, along with the Western Athletic Conference, announced Wednesday (Dec. 5) that Chicago State has accepted a formal invitation to join the WAC as an all-sports member. The Cougars' membership in the WAC will take effect July 1, 2013, and Chicago State will begin athletic competition in the conference next fall at the start of the 2013-14 season.
"Chicago State is taking a bold and ambitious step by joining the Western Athletic Conference," Dr. Watson said. "Now our student-athletes will be featured in several of the nation's largest media footprints in intercollegiate athletics, reaching tens of millions of households. This is great for our university and our fans. It is great for Chicago."
The Western Athletic Conference is in its 51st year of existence after establishment in 1962. The current 2013-14 WAC landscape includes California State University Bakersfield, University of Idaho, Grand Canyon University, New Mexico State University, Seattle University, and Utah Valley University.
"We are pleased to welcome Chicago State University to the WAC family," said WAC Interim Commissioner Jeff Hurd. "As the Western Athletic Conference continues to evolve, we look forward to their contributions, including the addition of another large media market to our league. We are also thrilled to be able to provide Chicago State with many more championship opportunities for their student-athletes."
The announcement gives all 14 Chicago State University sports programs access to conference championship events in 2013-14 and automatic qualifier spots for NCAA Championships, making it easier for Chicago State teams to qualify for the NCAA postseason.
"This is one of the most important days in the history of the athletic department," Chicago State Athletic Director Dan Schumacher said. "No longer will our coaches have to recruit and compete without the chance of an automatic qualifier to NCAA Championships at the end of the season."
Chicago State will add men and women's soccer as part of the agreement to join the WAC. Those teams must take the field by fall of 2014.
"This announcement will allow the department to move forward with future facility upgrades, fundraising efforts and student-athlete support initiatives," Schumacher said. "The WAC will enable us to reach our goal of being champions in the classroom, in competition and in the community."
Joining the WAC is the latest in a string of achievements since Schumacher became Chicago State Athletic Director last June. Since Schumacher's hiring, the Cougars have broken ground on a $2.5 million baseball stadium, signed a television contact with Lakeshore Public Television and redesigned www.GoCSUCougars.com.
"When you look at some of the cities included in the WAC – Seattle, Phoenix, Salt Lake, and now Chicago – we're going to be a league with significant media markets as well as schools with a great history in the WAC," Schumacher said. "Prospective Chicagoland student-athletes can come to CSU and play in front of their friends and family while still having a national, big-time NCAA Division I experience."