WAC loses Denver to Summit League, but adds Division II Grand Canyon

The Associated Press
Last Updated - November 28, 2012 11:54 GMT

DENVER ó The Western Athletic Conference is adding Grand Canyon to replace Denver, which is bolting for the Summit League after just one year in the WAC.
But the WAC must find another school ó and quickly ó in order to keep its automatic qualifying berths in the NCAA menís and womenís basketball tournaments.
Grand Canyon President Brian Mueller called Tuesday a historic day.
ĒWe have made a commitment to excellence in athletics, just as we have academically, and that commitment has been recognized by the invitation to join the Western Athletic Conference, a conference with a storied past,Ē Mueller said in a statement.
He predicted Division I status will raise the universityís profile.
Grand Canyon, located in Phoenix with an enrollment of 6,500, would join Cal State Bakersfield, Idaho, New Mexico State, Seattle and Utah Valley in the WAC starting in the 2013-14 academic year.
Keith Baker, the director of athletics at Grand Canyon, said Tuesday the school has already started the division transition process, which takes four years. Following the transition period, Grand Canyon will become a full Division I member provided that it meets all NCAA standards.
For the rest of the 2012-13 season, the university said its teams will remain eligible for all Pacific West Conference Championships as well as NCAA Division II postseason play.
WAC Interim Commissioner Jeff Hurd said the conference will help Grand Canyon as it makes the transition to the competitive Division I.
ĒThis is another important step in the rebuilding process of the WAC as we continue to strengthen the conference,Ē Hurd said.
In the Summit League, Denver plans to compete for conference championships in menís and womenís basketball, menís and womenís golf, menís and womenís soccer, menís and womenís swimming and diving, menís and womenís tennis, and volleyball.
Denver said its hockey, gymnastics, menís and womenís lacrosse, and menís and womenís skiing teams will stay in their respective conferences.
Denver joins Nebraska-Omaha, UMKC, IPFW, North Dakota State, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Oakland, Western Illinois and IUPUI in the conference.