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Chicago State joins the WAC

December 05, 2012|By Houston Mitchell

I know that when I think "west," I automatically think "Illinois," so it only makes sense that Chicago State announced on the Wednesday that it has joined the Western Athletic Conference.

Apparently no schools from Maine were available.

Although it seems an odd choice on the surface, Chicago State joining the WAC makes sense when you consider the WAC needed to add a team to keep its automatic qualifying berths for the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments for another year.

Chicago State joins Cal State Bakersfield, Grand Canyon, Idaho, New Mexico State, Seattle and Utah Valley in the WAC, which is losing the University of Denver to the Summit League next year.

"It's huge for us," Chicago State men's basketball Coach Tracy Dildy told ESPN Chicago. "It puts us in a legit conference. It now levels the playing field as far as recruiting and everything. We now get to offer everything everyone else does -- a chance for an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. People have been killing us on that in recruiting. We can get and recruit a different kind of student-athlete."

Have fun on those road trips, guys.

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