WAC and Expansion, Part 3: Montana, the Floor Is Yours

joshua williamsContributor IINovember 11, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY - MARCH 18:  Virgil Matthews #44 of Montana Grizzlies moves the ball against the Boston College Eagles against during the Second Round of the 2006 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament March 18, 2006 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake CIty, Utah. Boston College won 69-56. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Royce Engstrom, the WAC is keeping your seat warm.

The Western Athletic Conference is expected to officially invite Texas State, UT-San Antonio and Denver today, after which they will join during the 2012-2013 athletic season.  One spot still remains, and it seems tailored for Montana.  The question now is, will they except it?

New Montana school president Royce Engstrom announced that the school will announce their intentions within "days to a week."  If the answer is yes, then expansion will likely be over for the WAC.  But if the answer is no, Seattle is expected to get an invite, and one or two more schools will be looked at for future expansion. 

Now, the WAC appears to really want Montana, so much so that it is acting as if Montana is already a member of the conference, even giving exceptions to its own rules so Montana can be more comfortable with the move. 

When the five schools were invited to make presentations to the WAC on why they should be invited into the conference, Montana was excused from doing so and basically sat with the current WAC schools and watched the other four schools make their cases. The WAC has even offered to give them extra money for the first year to help the transition. 

Another thing the WAC has done to try and coax Montana is allow them to keep its rivalry with Montana State.  This is a big deal, as the rivalry would have gone against the WAC's rule disallowing schools to compete against the schools in the Big Sky or schools in similar conferences. It all depends on the results of the feasibility report Montana did, results we should hear about very soon.