Hawaii announced today it will leave the WAC in July of 2012 and become a football member of the Mountain West conference. Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada made similar announcements earlier this year.
The Warriors will compete in the Big West in most of its other sports.
Head football coach Greg McMackin said, "This is great news for our football program to be able to continue rivalries with Fresno State, Boise State, and Nevada along with the other great programs of the Mountain West Conference. Our fans will enjoy the high level of competition in the league and our players will be able to play on a national scale. This is an exciting day for our football program and we look forward to success in the Mountain West Conference."
Boise State, Hawaii and Nevada tied for the WAC title this past season with 7-1 league records. The schools all went 1-1 against each other with Hawaii downing Nevada, Nevada upending Boise State, and Boise State beating Hawaii.
While the WAC's upper tier football teams have fled to the Mountain West, the Mountain West's upper tier teams have dispersed. Utah is heading to the PAC-10, TCU to the Big East and BYU will become an independent.
As it stands now, the future Mountain West will be a 10-team league consisting of Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, Nevada-Las Vegas, New Mexico, San Diego State and Wyoming. That's not a bad line-up, but if TCU and Utah had stuck with the Mountain West, there is a very real likelihood that it would have become the 7th league to gain automatic qualifier status in the Bowl Championship Series coalition.
The Mountain West has become a new and improved WAC and the WAC has become completely irrelevant.
In the past six months, conference realignment has also hit the Big 12 with Colorado's move to the PAC-10 and Nebraska's flight to the Big Ten).
It marks the most activity in conference realignment since 2003 when the groundwork was laid for 20 schools to shake up seven conferences and and the independent ranks. The foundation for those changes was laid when Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech accepted invitations to join the ACC and leave the Big East.