Yesterday, the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) announced that five schools will soon be joining the conference.
Southern Utah will be joining the conference starting on July 1st, 2022. The other four schools -- Abilene Christian University, Lamar University, Sam Houston State University and Stephen F. Austin State University -- all currently reside in the Southland Conference and are expected to join the WAC this summer (according to their respective athletic department announcements).
From a distance running perspective, Southern Utah's decision to join the WAC a year and a half from now has long-term competitive implications for both the WAC and the BIG Sky.
Despite Northern Arizona's historically dominance over the BIG Sky, the Thunderbirds have proven to be a consistently competitive team within the conference when it comes to cross country.
The SUU men have never finished worse than 4th at the BIG Sky XC Championships since they joined in 2012. The SUU women haven't finished worse than 4th at the conference championship meet since 2015.
Both programs have won one BIG Sky cross country title, each.
California Baptist, a relatively new university to the Division I ranks and one of the top distance programs in the WAC, will now have to face a fairly competitive rival at their conference meet in Southern Utah.