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Chicago State to join WAC

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Chicago State will become the newest member of the Western Athletic Conference.

The school has accepted a formal invitation as an all-sports member, effective July 1, 2013.

"Chicago State is taking a bold and ambitious step by joining the Western Athletic Conference," said university president Dr. Wayne D. Watson. "Now our student-athletes will be featured in several of the nation's largest media footprints in intercollegiate athletics, reaching tens of millions of households. This is great for our university and our fans. It is great for Chicago."

Chicago State had been a member of the fledgling Big West Conference, which also features Houston Baptist, NJIT, Texas-Pan American and Utah Valley.

Utah Valley also announced its intention to join the WAC next July, along with Cal State-Bakersfield, while Grand Canyon was added in October. The WAC, established in 1962, is a conference that is constantly being raided by other larger leagues.

In 2005, Idaho, New Mexico State and Utah State joined the WAC after Rice, SMU, UTEP and Tulsa withdrew. Boise State withdrew prior to the 2011-12 season. The current membership began on July 1, 2012 when the WAC added Denver, Seattle, UT-Arlington, UTSA and Texas State to replace withdrawing members Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada.

Chicago State has 14 sports programs and will add men's and women's soccer as part of the agreement.

12/05 13:58:37 ET