The Western Athletic Conference today announced that Grand Canyon University has accepted terms for membership effective July 1, 2013. The invitation is contingent upon Grand Canyon completing the reclassification process from NCAA Division II to Division I. The Antelopes will begin conference regular season competition in 2013-14, although it will not be eligible for championships or for postseason play.
Also today, Tulane and East Carolina have announced they are moving from Conference USA to the Big East in 2014. ECU will move as a football-member only.
Grand Canyon will become the sixth member of the conference in 2013-14, joining Cal State University, Bakersfield; the University of Idaho; New Mexico State University; Seattle University and Utah Valley University.
“We welcome Grand Canyon University to the WAC and look forward to helping them make the transition in becoming a highly competitive Division I institution,” said WAC Interim Commissioner Jeff Hurd. “This is another important step in the rebuilding process of the WAC as we continue to strengthen the conference.”
Grand Canyon will play WAC schedules in all sports during the upcoming season, however, because GCU will be in a transition phase as it moves from Division II to Division I, the Antelopes will be ineligible to compete in WAC and NCAA Championships.
Located in Phoenix, Ariz., Grand Canyon was founded in 1949 and has an enrollment of about 6,500. The Antelopes compete in 22 intercollegiate sports with several competing in the brand new GCU Arena (capacity 4,602). Sports sponsored by both Grand Canyon and the WAC include baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s track and field, women’s swimming and diving, women’s soccer, softball and volleyball. The Antelopes’ baseball team is no stranger to the WAC as they were an affiliate member of the league for four seasons from 1995-98, winning the 1998 North Division championship.