California State University, Fresno President John D. Welty announced Wednesday, Aug. 18, that Fresno State has accepted the invitation for Bulldog Athletics teams to compete in the Mountain West Conference beginning in the next two years.
The invitation was received Wednesday morning and at 7:30 p.m., Welty announced that Fresno State would leave the Western Athletic Conference, where it has competed since 1992.
The Mountain West’s members are San Diego State, Brigham Young, Air Force, UNLV, Utah, TCU, New Mexico, Colorado State and Wyoming. Boise State will leave the Western Athletic Conference next year to join the Mountain West, which began operations in 1999.
Fresno State will be renewing rivalries with several universities that developed during the years many of the Mountain West’s members played in the Western Athletic Conference.
Fresno State student-athletes play in 16 NCAA Division I sports.
In the press conference, Welty said, “Fresno State is honored to have been invited to join the Mountain West Conference and I am pleased to announce that we will accept the invitation!”
Just before the press conference, Welty said, he spoke with Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson and conveyed the acceptance.
“We have always been proud to be a member of the Western Athletic Conference and compete against its very fine teams,” Welty added. “We’ve fought hard in the WAC, won championships and enjoyed the competition.”
Fresno State Athletics Director Thomas Boeh said, “We are proud that this invitation from the Mountain West represents recognition of the quality of our athletics program as well as the consistent, and sometimes extraordinary, accomplishments of our student-athletes, coaches and staff.
“We hold a deep appreciation for our 18-year membership in the Western Athletic Conference and value the wonderful opportunities that the league has provided Fresno State. We now look forward to the next chapter in the evolving history and traditions of Bulldog Athletics,” Boeh said.
Welty said that that like Fresno State, Mountain West member institutions are committed to high academic standards as well as competitive intercollegiate athletics.
“Fresno State’s strong support for the growth and distinction of its academic programs, and for student success, will remain our highest priorities,” he added. “We believe that our academic programs stand to benefit as the new relationship evolves.”
Welty said the university has weighed “opportunities that would be beneficial to our student-athletes, our Athletics program, our loyal Red Wave fans and the university community. As we considered this invitation, we looked at all of these and believe our decision to move to the Mountain West Conference is in the best interest of everyone.”