Utah State University has accepted an invitation for its athletic teams to become members of the Mountain West Conference, beginning officially on July 1, 2013, it was announced by President Stan L. Albrecht and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes.
“This is an exciting moment for Utah State University as the decision renews historic rivalries and places us in a conference that is a model of athletic and academic success,” said Albrecht. “We are proud to join with this group of high-quality institutions as we continue our very positive upward trajectory. This is a great day for Utah State athletics and for the university as a whole.”
During the 2012-13 seasons, Utah State will continue to compete in the WAC in all sports along with football members Idaho, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State, Texas State and UTSA, and non-football members Denver, Seattle and UT Arlington.
“This is truly a great day for Aggie nation. Membership in the Mountain West solidifies our course as an athletic program for many years into the future,” said Barnes. “Our student-athletes will soon have the opportunity to compete and grow on a much larger national stage while enjoying the benefits of competing with institutions closer in proximity. Certainly our alumni and friends will have more opportunities to follow their Aggies on the road in league play. We are grateful for the platform the WAC provided us to grow and excel, and we look forward with anticipation to the new challenges that are just ahead of us in the Mountain West.”
The Mountain West, which is based in Colorado Springs, Colo., was founded with eight members in 1998. Current membership includes the U.S. Air Force Academy, Boise State University, Colorado State University, the University of New Mexico, San Diego State University, TCU, UNLV and the University of Wyoming. TCU is joining the Big 12 Conference beginning in 2012-13, while the University of Hawai’i will become a football only member in the MW beginning in 2012. San Jose State accepted an invitation to join the league on the same day as did USU.
Utah State fields teams in 16 different sports including seven men’s sports of basketball, cross country, football, golf, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, and tennis and nine women’s sports of basketball, cross country, gymnastics, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball.
The Mountain West sponsors all of those sports except gymnastics as well as sponsoring baseball, women’s golf and women’s swimming and diving. A best-fit, new home for USU gymnastics will be decided upon soon.
For the past seven years (2006-12), Utah State has been a member of the Western Athletic Conference and has produced 23 regular season conference team championships, including four in men’s basketball, six in men’s cross country, four in men’s outdoor track and field, three in both women’s soccer and men’s indoor track and field, two in women’s cross country and one in women’s indoor track and field.
Furthermore, Utah State’s men’s basketball program is one of just five schools nationally to record 13-straight 21 wins seasons joining Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas and Syracuse, and has advanced to 13-straight postseasons (8-NCAA, 4-NIT, 1-CIT), which is tied for the 11th-longest active streak in the nation. USU’s women’s basketball team has advanced to postseason play in each of the last two years, participating in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament, while its women’s soccer program advanced to its first-ever NCAA Tournament in 2012. And finally, Utah State’s football team finished the 2012 season in second-place in the WAC and played in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, its first bowl game since 1997.
But Utah State’s success has not been limited to the playing fields as the Aggies have annually been among the league leaders in academic all-conference selections. During the 2010-11 academic year, Utah State led the WAC with 228 academic all-conference honorees and USU has led its league in academic all-conference recipients in 12 of the past 13 years including in each of its first six years in the WAC. Utah State also has a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 84 percent and its 400-plus student-athletes have a cumulative grade-point average
So, while Utah State University celebrated the news about joining the Mountain West Conference from the athletics side of the equation, USU administrators also pointed out that the new conference affiliation serves to highlight the academic strengths and prestige the university brings to the conference.
Raymond T. Coward, USU’s executive vice president and provost, said the new affiliation with the Mountain West Conference will create more than just new athletic opportunities for USU. Because of the similarity of purpose and mission that USU shares with many of its new conference peers, this new alliance will create academic opportunities for students and faculty to join with their counterparts at these institutions to engage in collaborative research, exploration and discovery.
“We are joining a conference comprising institutions that are our intellectual and academic equals,” Coward said. “The Mountain West Conference includes a distinguished set of institutions of higher education with highly respected academic programs.”
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Pres. Stan L Albrecht announce's USU's affiliation with the Mountain West Conference.
Director of Athletics Scott Barnes announce's USU's affiliation with the Mountain West Conference.
Head Football Coach Gary Andersen shares his take with members of the media.
Notice the new Utah State athletics logos? To see more visit http://www.usu.edu/ustate/