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Is Dixie State Going to Join the WAC?

Stan Plewe - Dixie State Athletics

Making the leap to the NCAA Division I level is a possibility for Dixie State University. And, according to the Dixie Sun News, if that happens, the Trailblazers will compete in the Western Athletic Conference in all sports. The Trailblazer football team would compete as an independent unless the WAC adds more football schools. 

Dixie State would make the jump beginning July 1, 2020 if the Board of Trustees approves the move. According to Dixie State athletic director Jason Boothe, the positives of going to Division I outweigh the negatives and that he doesn’t anticipate the process taking much longer. 

The Trailblazers released a feasibility study back on Oct. 30 to determine if making the jump was worth it. At the time, Boothe told KSL.com, “There has been initial and mutual interest and exploration between Dixie State University and the Western Athletic Conference in regards to a possible move to NCAA Division I status; however, no official invitation has been extended by the WAC.” 

In that same article from KSL.com, some contingencies were explained. The move is contingent on a membership offer from a Division I conference. Dixie State’s athletic department must meet the sports participation minimum. And, the Trailblazers must submit a $1.7 million application fee as well as a Division I strategic plan submitted to the NCAA. 

Will It Work for the Trailblazers?

Dixie State already has 14 sports, meeting the Division I FCS minimum. However, if the WAC doesn’t sponsor football, Dixie State will have to add one additional men’s sport to meet the WAC entry requirements. 

For reference, the operating budget for the Dixie State athletic department is $5.3 million. That number trails every athletic department in the WAC except Chicago State. Dixie State’s budget would immediately increase if they make the jump to Division I. This is due in large part to football as scholarships would increase to the FCS maximum of 63. 

For the past two seasons, the Trailblazers have come to Orem to take on UVU in men’s hoops. UVU won both contests but, if Dixie State joins the WAC, there is potential for an I-15 rivalry.

It remains to be seen if Dixie State will join the WAC. All roads are pointing to that happening. One of the negatives for the Trailblazers is waiting for postseason play. Similar to Grand Canyon’s jump, they would have to wait to compete in the postseason until their fifth year in the conference.

However, with the location, adding Dixie State seems like a slam dunk for the Western Athletic Conference.

Here are some other schools that are potentially looking at joining the WAC.

If football is in play:

  • Central Washington
  • Azuza Pacific
  • Tarleton State

Without football:

  • Cal State-Los Angeles
  • MSU-Denver

Potentially, those who have football could be joining the WAC for all sports and going independent in football. Either way, it looks like expansion in the Western Athletic Conference is inevitable.

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One Comment

  1. moscowvandal

    December 13, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    Screw it let’s do it

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