DENVER — Western Athletic Conference Commissioner Brian Thornton today announced a membership invitation issued by the conference’s Board of Directors to University of Texas at Arlington has been accepted effective July 1, 2022.
“We are extremely excited to welcome The University of Texas at Arlington to the Western Athletic Conference. UTA will be a great addition to the league,’ said Thornton. “UTA brings a stellar academic reputation and commitment to excelling athletically. Our Board of Directors was extremely impressed with UTA's focus on the total student-athlete experience while preparing them for life beyond their time on campus.”
The Mavericks come to the WAC from the Sun Belt Conference and will expand the conference to 15 members for the 2022-23 academic year. This will mark the second tenure in the league for UTA, who was a member of the WAC for the 2012-13 season.
“We are extremely excited that UTA is joining the rejuvenated Western Athletic Conference,” said Grand Canyon University President and WAC Board of Directors chair Brian Mueller. “They are bringing their excellent academic reputation as well as their rich athletic tradition to a rapidly expanding mid major conference with huge potential.”
Founded in 1895, UTA boasts a fall 2021 global enrollment of 47,093 and is the third-largest producer of college graduates in the state of Texas. Classified as a Research-1: Doctoral University—Very High Research Activity by the Carnegie Foundation, UTA had $120.5 million in research expenditures in the 2020-21 fiscal year. Last year, UTA became just the fourth institution in the state to achieve designation as a Texas Tier One university, a signifier of excellence in academics and research. Centrally located between Dallas (to the east) and Fort Worth (to the west), the institution attracts students from more than 100 countries annually and is designated both as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution.
“As Mavericks, we pride ourselves on the pursuit of excellence in the classroom and on the playing field,” said Teik C. Lim, UTA interim president. “This move expands our geographic footprint to the west coast and creates exciting new competitive opportunities and partnerships for our university and our fellow WAC members. We view this as a win-win for UTA and the WAC, and as a university, we look forward to the change and the challenges ahead.”
The Mavericks sponsors 15 varsity sports, all of which will compete in the WAC. In their brief time in the WAC, they won the men’s cross-country title and shared the regular season baseball title. As a department, they have won 45 regular season titles and 82 tournament championships since beginning athletics in 1963.
UTA will join the WAC at the same time as University of the Incarnate Word and Southern Utah University.
Tarleton State University President Dr. James Hurley
“UTA is an excellent institution with a tremendous academic and athletic pedigree. The addition of UTA continues to strengthen the WAC profile and footprint in one of the fastest growing metropolitan media markets in the nation.”
University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley President Dr. Guy Bailey
“We at UTRGV are delighted to welcome UT Arlington into the WAC. As a fellow UT System institution, we are thoroughly familiar with UTA’s academic excellence, innovativeness, and top-notch facilities. We believe they will be an excellent addition to the conference.”
UTA Director of Athletics Jim Baker
“We are thrilled to join the Western Athletic Conference and help bolster a league that shares a similar strategic vision, is in the best interest of our student-athletes and enhances the university’s profile. The WAC’s short- and long-term objectives, goals and overall mission run parallel to UTA’s, and we envision this move being advantageous for all parties.”
About the Western Athletic Conference
The WAC was formed in 1962 and is comprised of 13 member institutions – Abilene Christian University; California Baptist University; Chicago State University; Dixie State University (Utah Tech University beginning July 1); Grand Canyon University; Lamar University; New Mexico State University; Sam Houston State University; Seattle University; Stephen F. Austin State University; Tarleton State University; The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; and Utah Valley University. University of the Incarnate Word and Southern Utah University will join the league on July 1, 2022. The WAC crowns team and individual champions in 20 sports – 10 men's and 10 women's championships. The WAC office is in the Denver metropolitan area.