July 1 officially marked the University of Nevada, Reno's first day as a member of the Mountain West Conference.
The University's volleyball and football teams will be the first squads to play Mountain West opponents with the volleyball team hosting San Diego State and the football team traveling to Hawai'i on Sept. 22. The Wolf Pack women's soccer team will play its first conference game at home against San Diego State on Sept. 28, while the football team will host its first Mountain West home game when Wyoming comes to Mackay Stadium for Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 6.
The Mountain West membership for the 2012-13 season includes Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV and Wyoming. Hawai'i is also a football-only member of the Mountain West, while San Jose State and Utah State will join the league in 2013-14.
"We are so excited to officially join the Mountain West Conference. It is a great fit for us academically and athletically, and we look forward to being able to compete against the great institutions that make up the Mountain West," Director of Athletics Cary Groth said.
After accepting an invitation to join the league on Aug. 19, 2010, the Wolf Pack is now joining a conference that has produced 762 All-America selections among its 18 sponsored sports (men's swimming was discontinued as a conference sport following the 2010-11 season) in the last 13 years, including a league-record 83 All-America honorees in 2010-11. A total of 125 MW student-athletes have earned Academic All-America accolades and 38 have won NCAA Postgraduate Scholarships in that span. The Mountain West has sent at least 28 teams to NCAA postseason events in each of the past 13 years, capturing three team national championships in men's cross country and producing 32 individual national champions in the sports of men's golf, men's cross country, and men's and women's indoor track & field and outdoor track & field.
Mountain West members have participated in 51 bowl games under the league umbrella, including four appearances in BCS games. The MW has earned 61 postseason bids in men's basketball, including 33 NCAA Tournament appearances and two NIT Final Four berths. MW women's basketball has tallied 57 postseason slots, including 31 NCAA bids, five Sweet 16 appearances and one Elite Eight berth since 2000. Wyoming won the MW's first WNIT championship in 2007 with a win over Wisconsin. In women's volleyball, the MW has had 34 NCAA bids with eight Sweet 16 berths and one Elite Eight appearance. Women's soccer has earned 26 NCAA bids since 1999, with BYU advancing to the Sweet 16 in 2000 and the Elite Eight in 2003. MW men's golf has had at least four representatives in each of the last 13 NCAA Golf Regionals, while women's golf has had at least three teams participate in NCAA Regionals 11 of the last 13 years.
Among its many achievements in 2011-12, the Mountain West sent a record five football teams to bowl games for the fifth consecutive year and was represented by four men's basketball teams in the NCAA tournament, marking the 12th time in the last 13 years the Conference has sent multiple teams to the Big Dance.
This move is the most recent in a series of strategic conference changes over the years for the Wolf Pack athletics department. Nevada's previous conference affiliations have included the Pacific Athletic Association (1914-1920), the Far Western Conference (1924-1939 & 1953-1969), the West Coast Athletic Conference (1969-79), the Big Sky Conference (1979-92), the Big West Conference (1992-2000) and the Western Athletic Conference (2000-12).
For more information about the Mountain West Conference, visit The MWC.
Mountain West Quick Facts
- Founded: July 1, 1999
- Members for the 2012-13 academic year: Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawai'i (football only), Nevada, New Mexico, San Diego State, UNLV, Wyoming
- Team NCAA Championships: 3
- Individual NCAA Championships: 32
- NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship Winners: 38
- Academic All-America Selections: 125
- All-America Selections: 762