Denver (Denver Post) - The University of Denver is joining the Western Athletic Conference as a nonfootball member starting with the 2012-13 school year.
The school issued a release Wednesday night announcing a news conference for Thursday to "discuss conference affiliation." The WAC has a teleconference scheduled for earlier in the day.
Of Denver's 17 teams, 10 will go to the new conference — men's and women's basketball, men's and women's golf and tennis, gymnastics, volleyball, women's swimming and women's soccer.
The Pioneers men's swimming team, which was competing in the Sun Belt, will have to find a new conference, most likely the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, because the WAC does not have the sport. DU's men's soccer team and women's lacrosse team now play in the MPSF.
WAC commissioner Karl Benson on Wednesday would not confirm the details.
DU will leave the Sun Belt for a conference including NCAA men's basketball tournament regular Utah State, New Mexico State, Idaho, Hawaii, San Jose State, Louisiana Tech and either Montana (which would join in football as well) or Seattle as another nonfootball member.
The DU athletic department has aimed for years to change its conference affiliation from one with southeastern states to one in the West.
Earlier this year, the WAC lost three schools — Boise State, Nevada and Fresno State — to the Mountain West. The latter two won't join the MWC until 2012. When it was announced in late October that Nevada and Fresno State couldn't leave until 2012, Benson said replacements would be announced within the month.
Texas State and Texas-San Antonio also are expected to join the WAC in football. Montana must decide whether to move up from the FCS ranks.
UTSA will begin its program in 2011 as an independent and will move up with Texas State to join the WAC.
With the announcement that the University of Denver is leaving the Sun Belt Conference for the Western Athletic Conference, DU will field 17 teams in 10 sports spread among five leagues:
Western Collegiate Hockey Association — Men's hockey
Mountain Pacific Sports Federation — Women's lacrosse, men's soccer, men's swimming
Eastern College Athletic Conference — Men's lacrosse
Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association — Men's and women's skiing
WAC — Men's and women's basketball, men's and women's golf, women's soccer, women's swimming, men's and women's tennis, women's gymnastics, women's volleyball