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Sunday, April 20, 2014         

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Men's volleyball, too, could jump to Big West

By Ferd Lewis

POSTED:



The Western Athletic Conference might not be the only one where the University of Hawaii pulls up stakes.

If plans to leave the WAC and place its teams in the Mountain West and Big West materialize, UH could also depart the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, where it has been a member since 1993, officials say.

UH currently competes in the MPSF in men's volleyball and women's water polo but could end up in the Big West in both.

UH is finalizing negotiations to move its football team to the MWC and has asked to be considered by the Big West for its other teams.

Five Big West teams offer men's volleyball and compete in the MPSF. The addition of UH would give the conference the minimum number required by the NCAA to qualify for an automatic tournament berth.

Big West commissioner Dennis Farrell said such a move has been "given consideration" but nothing has been decided.

UH athletic director Jim Donovan said, "The option (to add men's volleyball as a Big West sport) would certainly be there."

UH coach Charlie Wade said, "I think there are scenarios where the conference could really benefit."

Donovan said, "The MPSF has 12 teams, and it would be easier to get to an NCAA (tournament) berth going through five (other) schools than 11."

The NCAA awards four tournament bids: one each to the MPSF, Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association and Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association and one at-large berth. Thirty-five schools sponsor men's volleyball on the Division I level, and officials are hopeful the NCAA might be willing to expand the field.

Farrell said a number of questions would need to be cleared by the NCAA before the Big West could proceed.






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