Posted on November 10, 2010 at 6:44 PM
Thursday, Nov 11 at 12:35 AM
Being the plain-spoken guy he is, UTSA football coach Larry Coker was direct Wednesday night when asked about the Roadrunners’ imminent entry into the Western Athletic Conference on Thursday.
“I feel good about it,” Coker said after UTSA’s final scrimmage at Farris Stadium. “It’s a good opportunity that’s come very fast. If we have a chance to get in a league, we’re going to take it.”
Multiple sources said Wednesday that UTSA, Texas State and the University of Denver are expected to join the WAC at the start of the 2012-13 school year, replacing Boise State, Fresno and Nevada, all departing for the Mountain West Conference.
WAC Commissioner Karl Benson is expected to announce the conference’s expansion in a teleconference at 4 p.m. Thursday.
UTSA, which plays its first football game in school history next Sept. 3, will compete as an independent in the Football Championship Subdivision next season before moving up to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2012.
UTSA president Ricardo Romo will make a presentation to the University of Texas System Board of Regents earlier Thursday in Austin, and all indications are the regents will give their approval in a vote shortly thereafter.
The Roadrunners and Texas State, rivals in the Southland Conference, will compete in the WAC in all sports. Denver will play in all WAC sports except football.
UTSA and Texas State will join Hawaii, Louisiana Tech, Idaho, New Mexico State, Utah State and San Jose State as WAC football schools. The conference will have nine men’s and women’s basketball teams.
UTSA and Texas State reportedly will pay the Southland Conference a penalty fee of about $250,000 each for leaving the league.
Coker didn’t flinch when asked about the challenge that moving into an FBS conference in only the second season of the program would present.
“I don’t think you can worry about that,” he said. “This is a rare opportunity and you can’t turn it down.”
Really, it was never a matter of whether, but when, UTSA would join the WAC once both parties expressed mutual interest.
For their part, UTSA football players have been so busy with school and adjusting to the new program that they haven’t given much thought about the WAC. Coker said he hasn't heard any buzz in the Roadrunners' locker room about the move to the WAC.
“If it happens, it would be great,” said freshman quarterback John Simmons, who looked impressive in the Roadrunners’ seventh scrimmage. “But we really haven’t been talking about it.”
Freshman linebacker/defensive back Nic Johnston expressed similar sentiments.
“It is what it is,” he said.
Asked what he thought about moving into an FBS conference after only one season, Johnston said, “We’re going to have to do it.
That’s just the way it is.”
UTSA will have its final scrimmage at 7 p.m. next Wednesday at the Alamodome, where the Roadrunners will play their home games. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and admission is free. Parking will be available in Lots B and C for $5.