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Star-Bulletin Sports

Tuesday, November 7, 2000

C O L L E G E _ F O O T B A L L


BCS gives WAC
more respect

By Paul Arnett

TWO days after nationally ranked Texas Christian blew a chance to be a part of the Bowl Championship Series, the organization that helps select the nation's top two teams, announced yesterday that the Western Athletic Conference had regained its nonsignatory status.

It doesn't mean the perceived lesser conference will have any say on which teams make it in the major-paying New Year's Day games, but it does mean WAC commissioner Karl Benson will be in the room when the decisions are made.

Over the summer, the BCS announced that the rival Mountain West Conference was granted nonsignatory status. The WAC was left out because a majority of the teams weren't together long enough. This ruling is more for show than anything else, but it does put the league on equal footing with Conference USA and the Mountain West.

"Basically, the Mountain West was given what the WAC had prior to the spilt," Benson said last summer at the WAC meetings. "But we need to get ourselves back in there to be taken more seriously as a football conference.''

Well, that happened yesterday as was announced by Benson and BCS coordinator John Swofford, the commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

"This is an important and very beneficial step for the member institutions of the WAC," Benson said during yesterday's weekly conference call. "The fact that we now are treated the same by the BCS as the Mountain West and Conference USA is a goal that the WAC has pursued since the breakup of the 16-team conference.

"We are appreciative of the BCS, look forward to working with its members and will do everything in our power to ensure that major college football continues to grow in popularity.''

The WAC rejoins with not only the other nonsignatory members, but with the original equity members of the BCS (ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big Twelve, Pac-10 and SEC) and Notre Dame in future BCS meetings as well.

"As we move forward in planning the next six years of the Bowl Championship Series, the original BCS entities believed it was important to include all of the conferences currently playing major college football," Swofford said in a news release.

"We believe the commonality of the group will serve us well in future discussions regarding such issues as post-season football, the marketing of the game and legislative matters that may impact the sport.''

UH head coach June Jones was disappointed that Texas Christian lost to San Jose State on Saturday night because of the potential windfall had the Horned Frogs been selected by the BCS.

But that seems unlikely now. TCU dropped nine spots in the major polls after the 27-24 defeat to the Spartans.

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