ARLINGTON - The
University of Texas at Arlington announced today that it has accepted an
invitation to join the Western Athletic Conference, a move that will elevate
the University’s competitive sports programs and increase its national profile.
UT Arlington becomes the 10th member of the WAC for the 2012-2013
academic year, joining Louisiana Tech University, New Mexico State University
and Utah State University, among other institutions. UT Arlington is the third
Texas institution to move to the WAC for the 2012-2013 season, along with The
University of Texas at San Antonio and Texas State University.
of Texas System Board of Regents approved the move unanimously during a regularly scheduled
meeting Thursday, July 14, 2011. WAC conference play will coincide with the
first, full basketball season in UT Arlington’s College
Park Center, a 7,000-seat,
split-bowl arena designed by Cowboys Stadium architect HKS. The new events center
– part of a 20-acre mixed-use development scheduled to open in late summer 2012
– promises to be an exciting, high-tech venue for conference games.
honored to join the Western Athletic Conference,” UT Arlington President James
D. Spaniolo said. “This is an extraordinary opportunity that advances the
interests of our University and positions our athletics programs to compete at
a higher level. It is clear recognition of the growing prominence of UT
is bittersweet for University leaders. UT Arlington is a charter member of the
Southland Conference, which was founded in 1963. At the same time, President Spaniolo
called the move to the WAC “consistent with the University’s strategic
initiative to become a major research university.”
institutions have Tier One athletics programs and student-athletes that compete
at the highest levels, both on and off the field,” Spaniolo said.
Commissioner Karl Benson said UT Arlington brings geographic balance and
increased media potential to the conference, in addition to top-level
academics. The conference also includes the University of Denver, the
University of Idaho, Seattle University and San Jose State University in
2012-2013. Ultimately, the WAC aims to create two, six-team divisions, Benson
addition of UT Arlington places the WAC in another top-20 media market, with the
recent additions of Seattle and Denver,” Benson said. “Access to the
Dallas-Fort Worth region will help the WAC secure more lucrative television
rights fees in the future, a benefit for all of our member institutions.”
Arlington will be the WAC’s third non-football school, and UT Arlington’s
membership in the WAC does not depend on a return of competitive football to UT
Carlon, UT Arlington’s director of intercollegiate athletics, said today’s announcement is a pivotal moment
for the University.
the WAC places UT Arlington in a new era of collegiate sports,” Carlon said,
noting that the WAC is one of 11 elite conferences in NCAA Division I
athletics. “The WAC gives our University instant recognition across the country
and moves us from regional athletics competition to a truly national stage.”
Arlington sponsors 14 Division I intercollegiate sports – baseball, men's and
women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's golf, softball,
men's and women's tennis, men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and field,
and women's volleyball.
University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of
nearly 34,000 students in the heart of North Texas. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.