WAC sues Fresno State, Nevada

DENVER

After nearly two decades in the Western Athletic Conference on August 18th Fresno State decided to leave and join the Mountain West Conference.

Last week lawyers for the WAC filed this lawsuit in a Colorado court to keep Fresno State and Nevada in the WAC until 2012.

The complaint says both schools could only leave the conference next year if they announced their decision by July 1st but they did not do so until August.

During a conference call Tuesday morning WAC Commissioner Karl Benson said if the Bulldogs leave the WAC next year it would lead to 'irreparable financial consequences' for that conference, affecting both television and radio contracts, and by creating incomplete football schedules.

Benson: "There's a myriad of reasons why Fresno State and Nevada need to fulfill their obligation and there's a reason that there are notifications and dates to allow a conference adequate time, reasonable time to prepare for the departure."

Commissioner Benson said he has not talked with either university president except through media releases and emails.

President John Welty released this statement to Action News regarding the lawsuit: "We've been advised by the WAC that it has initiated legal action. That is unfortunate. We believe that all the issues can be resolved through discussion rather than through costly legal proceedings."

Several students at Fresno State including Bulldog wide receiver Devon Wylie are worried a lawsuit will waste money better spent of academics.

Wylie: "If there are students that are suffering or going to be affected by it by costs going up then that worries me."

Senior Rachel Rodriguez: "I think they should invest the money in something else like more educational than sports."

There is a $5 million buy-out both schools are expected to pay for leaving. That was not part of the lawsuit but the WAC Commissioner said he still expects the money.

A representative with Mountain West said they have not created next year's sports schedule.

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The Associated Press

The Western Athletic Conference has filed a lawsuit to force Nevada and Fresno State to stay in the league through the 2011-12 school year before leaving for the Mountain West Conference.

WAC commissioner Karl Benson said Tuesday the conference filed a complaint last week in Jefferson County District Court in Colorado.

Benson says WAC bylaws state members must inform the conference it is leaving for another league by July 1 or the schools are obligated to stay through the next two school years.

Nevada and Fresno State announced they had accepted invitations to the MWC on July 18. Benson says the two schools have never assured the other WAC members that they will remain with the league through the 2011-12 season.

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