The University of Hawaii football team is scrambling for a home football opponent in 2011 now that the Western Athletic Conference has announced it will not expand any earlier than July 1, 2012.
With the departure of Boise State to the Mountain West Conference beginning the fall of 2011, and the WAC standing pat at eight members, what had been a completed schedule now has a significant puka.
"I am currently looking for a non-conference game," said Carl Clapp, the UH associate athletic director who oversees scheduling.
In 2011, UH already has non-conference games with Colorado, UC Davis and Oregon State at Aloha Stadium, and road games at Washington and Nevada-Las Vegas.
Boise State had the option to play the 2011 game with UH as a non-conference contest "but with the new conference schedule" and four non-conference games booked, "we won’t be playing any WAC teams in 2011," said Max Corbet, BSU sports information director. "We can’t even fit in (state rival) Idaho."
Following at least its fourth meeting since the June 11 announcement Boise State would leave for the MWC, the WAC Board of Directors yesterday announced it will stand pat at eight members for the 2011-2012 school year.
"The time for change is really coming to a close for this year, so the WAC has decided to wait and think strategically about expanding – for example, should there be 8, 10, or 12 members and who would be the best fit," UH-Manoa chancellor Virginia S. Hinshaw said. "This provides time to determine the desired size of the conference and the best matches for the WAC with regard to academics, geography, and competitiveness in different sports."
North Texas, perhaps the most viable current Football Bowl Subdivision candidate for the WAC, will commission a study before deciding whether to leave the Sun Belt Conference.
Several Football Championship Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-AA) teams are possibilities but none has, as yet, applied for a change of divisions due to an NCAA moratorium.
"We will now take several months to drill down on the various membership options before making any decisions that would impact the 2012-’13 season," WAC commission Karl Benson said.
Benson said expansion discussion by the board will be ongoing "as necessary."
Meanwhile, the next meeting between the Warriors and Broncos – Nov. 6 in Boise – could be their last for a while in a series that Boise State leads 8-3. Corbet said it is unlikely the Broncos and Warriors will play in the immediate future as non-conference opponents.
"With the cost and travel, I’d be surprised," Corbet said.