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Leading Off: Sac State could become involved in conference shake-ups
Sacramento State athletic director Terry Wanless knows how far-reaching this college conference shake-up could be.
“This domino run could be quite big,” he said Monday. “Schools not even noted as athletic powers could be involved in an indirect way.”
This includes Sac State, which was mentioned as a possible member of the Western Athletic Conference at the WAC meetings last month.
Karl Benson, the WAC Commissioner, said Sacramento State, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and UC Davis would be good fits if the league lost Boise State and/or Louisiana Tech.
That may be premature, as Boise State was denied an invitation to join the Mountain West Conference on Monday.
“Our official statement is we are always looking to improve our athletic program,” Wanless said.
Sac State would have to upgrade to 20 sports, improve its athletic budget from $15 million to about $20 million and keep a gender-equity balance. Those seem doable, Wanless said.
With the football stadium already renovated, the biggest issue would be the basketball facility. Memorial Auditorium is out, Wanless said, and the Hornets Nest is not a long-term option for a mid-major Division I team. But Arco Arena could be a stopgap. Or the WAC could give Sac State time to build a facility.
“I try not to get overly excited about such (WAC) talk. It’s a compliment to the program,” Wanless said. “It’s just rhetoric right now.”
By Bill Bradley