The school is a natural fit for the conference, as it sits in the Southwestern footprint the conference is cemented in. The Trailblazers’ current conference, the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, only has one other Utah school in it. The next closest school is 4 1⁄2 hours away and the Trailblazers do not hold rivalries with any Rocky Mountain members.
As a member of the WAC, the closest school will be Utah Valley, located 3 1⁄2 hours north of Dixie State University. Additionally, the Trailblazers will renew competition with Cal Baptist, who was an old foe of theirs in the PacWest conference.
The location seems to already be creating new rivalries too, as UVU and DSU have begun plans to create a traveling trophy.
Currently, Dixie State has 15 sports programs (six men and nine women’s) and 14 of the 15 will compete in the WAC. Football will be the only program to remain outside the conference and play as an FCS Independent.
That seems to be fitting in well with the school too, as they have already expressed interest in making rivalries with Big Sky teams Weber State, Northern Arizona and Southern Utah.
In fact, the team’s first game as a Division I program will be against the SUU Thunderbirds. Could that mean Dixie State will end up in the Big Sky Conference for football?
Who knows? But it would give the conference 14 teams, enough for two divisions. But that’s all speculation.
I think the hope is to slowly build a new WAC football league. While Dixie State will be just the second WAC member with football (NM State), members UTRGV and Chicago State have looked into adding programs.
Maybe the league will look for more programs like Dixie State to add to the conference and help blaze a trail to a rebirth of WAC football. If so, we may see NM State drop to FCS.
For now, we can relax and enjoy the expansion of the conference and welcome Dixie State to the group!