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The University of Texas at San Antonio Online Magazine

Finding A Home

It was never a secret that Athletics Director Lynn Hickey and Brad Parrott, senior associate director of athletics, were determined that UTSA football would be played at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level, the highest level of Division I.

But the road to the FBS has been filled with potholes and detours.

The Southland Conference, which UTSA joined in 1991, plays in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). FBS football offers more scholarships, gives far greater visibility and perceived value to a program, and has a much greater potential for dollars.

UTSA originally announced it would play football as an independent for two seasons before beginning play in the Southland Conference, all the while looking for an FBS conference to join.

Then, in January 2010, the school said it would play as an independent indefinitely while searching for an FBS home. But in June, the Southland Conference pitched a curve.

"What the conference did in June was to put in a retroactive rule that said that if the Southland Conference sponsors a sport, and you want to be in that conference, then you have to play that sport in the conference," Hickey said. "That rule was not in place when we made our decision."

In the summer, UTSA began preliminary discussions with Conference USA, the Sunbelt Conference and the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), the conferences that make the most sense geographically.

More twists soon followed. Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada all announced that they were leaving the WAC for the Mountain West Conference. Suddenly, the WAC was scrambling for replacements, and they looked to Texas.

On Nov. 11, UTSA— along with Texas State and Denver—accepted an invitation to join the WAC. UTSA will participate in all sports beginning in 2012.

— Joe Michael Feist

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Current Issue: Winter 2010

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