It's been a long, drawn out death march, and today Western Athletic Conference Commissioner Jeff Hurd made it known that his conference would officially drop football after this season. While the move brings finality to the football side, many questions remain about the future of the conference.
The WAC has served as a stepping-stone for several schools, and most recently has endured the departures of Boise State, Nevada, Fresno State, and Hawaii, with Utah State and San Jose State set to leave after this season. With Idaho having recently declared it will venture into 2013 as an FBS independent, the only football program remaining is New Mexico State. The Vandals have also announced their intent to join the Big Sky for non-football sports.
2012 marks the first year in the WAC for Denver in non-football sports. The Pioneers left the Sun Belt to play hoops in the WAC, but now the non-football side is in survival mode as well. Hurd's comments highlight his conference's dire situation:
"If we can't get enough league members, we can't operate as a conference. We're going to do everything possible to avoid that. There aren't any obvious answers out there."
The WAC is celebrating its 50th year as a conference, but if enough teams can't be added, the following 50-year commemoration video feels more like an in memoriam.