Monday, April 30, 2012 | 11 a.m.
UNLV fans excited to get the “I Believe” chant out of the conference will now get it from the originators.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported Sunday night that Utah State and San Jose State will leave the Western Athletic Conference and join the Mountain West in 2013, according to multiple sources. The move is expected to be completed within the next seven to 10 days.
Utah State Athletic Director Scott Barnes, who is in Phoenix attending Mountain West meetings, told the Tribune that it’s not a done deal, but “things have progressed even since yesterday.”
The move saves both schools from the sinking ship that is the WAC, which may cease to exist as a football conference because of all the defections. And there will be a lot of familiar rivalries, as former WAC schools Nevada, Fresno State and Hawaii (football only) are set to join the conference this summer.
With the expected departures of Boise State and San Diego State next year, the moves would keep the Mountain West at 10 teams for football in 2013 and nine for all other sports. However, the impending decisions about the end of the traditional BCS system could affect some of those moves, as could any further realignment moves.
The move is especially good for basketball, as Utah State has been a consistent mid-major presence for several years. The Aggies have made eight NCAA tournaments since 2000.
For now, it looks like UNLV fans will be trading the Aztecs’ version of the chant for Utah State’s original.