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Fresno, Nevada to remain in WAC through June 2012

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 7:11 a.m. HST, Oct 28, 2010

Fresno State and Nevada will continue as members of the Western Athletic Conference through June, 2012 and each school will pay the WAC $900,000 in a settlement announced today.

The two schools are leaving the WAC for the Mountain West Conference and had intended to do so in time for next fall and the 2011 football season. But the WAC contended that they had missed the deadline for announcing the intended departure.

"To allow Nevada and Fresno to leave (after this spring) would put the WAC at a tremendous disadvantage," WAC commissioner Karl Benson said today.

The two schools were each subject to a $5 million penalty for leaving the conference because of a loyalty agreement, the WAC contended. The amount was lowered to $900,000 "after several weeks of negotiation," Benson said.

According to the settlement, each school will make five payments of $180,000 to the WAC on Aug. 1 of each year from 2011 to 2015.

It has not been determined how the money will be disbursed to member schools, Benson said today.

Benson said the remaining six WAC members — Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, San Jose State, and Utah State — will meet today by teleconference to discuss the future of the league.

The WAC is still looking at five schools — Denver, Montana, Seattle, Texas-San Antonio and Texas State — as potential new members, Benson said. Denver and Seattle do not have football teams.

"We're in the same position we were 60 days ago," Benson said. "For 2012 we definitely need three football playing schools," to replace Boise State (which leaves the WAC for the MWC after this year), Fresno State and Nevada. 

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