Grand Canyon University Joins Western Athletic Conference

Ann McClure's picture

Could the admission of Grand Canyon University (Ariz.) into the Western Athletic Conference help change the perception of for-profits among the higher education community?

Officially invited into the WAC November 26, Grand Canyon is the first for-profit institution to be granted Div. I NCAA status, an invitation decision makers say was made based on the school’s merits alone, which they say are not muddied by its for-profit status despite the business model coming under fire recently.

And there are no special considerations or clearances that a for-profit needs to receive from the NCAA to become a member or maintain its membership, explains Emily Potter, associate director of public and media relations at the NCAA. “Our member institutions are required to abide by our bylaws regardless of their financial structures.”

The decision to admit Grand Canyon came after major conference realignment, which is affecting conferences coast to coast and lost the WAC its FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) status, leaving it with only three of its 10 members from the 2012-2013 year, shares Interim Commissioner Jeff Hurd. The realignment has generally been related to football revenue and television revenue, he says.

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