Western Washington wipes out football; could affect UBC and SFU's plans

"The decision by Western leaves only four Division II football programs west of Colorado — Central Washington, Western Oregon, Humboldt State (Calif.) and Dixie State in Utah — all members of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. There remains the possibility of the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University in Canada joining Division II in the next few years should the Canadian schools meet NCAA regulations and provide additional regional opponents."
Longview Daily News
This raises questions if the juice is worth the squeeze for Simon Fraser and UBC. They lose a quick and easy road trip to the Bellingham, Wash., school, and they are joining a conference whose image and strength just took a maor hit.

That's not necessarily a deal-breaker, since the move was more about other team sports (basketball, volleyball, soccer, baseball) than it is about football. However, this drives up the expenses of the latter, since it means more travel. It also makes one wonder how strong the Great Northwest Athletic Conference is when it just a lost Western Washington, which had a 98-year football tradition.

One can only assume, with the economy going the way it is, that Western Washington is not going to be the only D-2 or D-3 school that might have to bite the bullet. The schools who are low on the college football pecking order are being hit hard by shrinking revenues and expanding costs.

The only Canadian on Western Washington's roster was Kyle Miller, a freshman defensive back from Surrey, B.C. The school is honouring players' scholarships, although all will be eligible to play right away if they enrol at another school.

Western Washington University drops football program (Ben Zimmerman, Longview Daily News)
Sad day as Western drops football for money reasons (Steve Kelley, Seattle Times)
Western Washington cuts football program (Associated Press)
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home


  1. Chayce Elliott was another Canadian on WWU's roster , who left and became eligible to join the Gee Gees late in thr 2008 season. I wonder if he had heard, back then, that WWU was considering dropping football and that affected his decision to leave and return to Canada.


  2. Apparently this decision from WWU came as a complete shock to everyone, so I doubt that Elliott or anyone else saw it coming. This was no doubt a deliberate strategy by WWU brass - had they dropped any hints that football was on the chopping block, the lobbying they would have faced would have been overwhelming.

  3. I don't think it says anything about the GNAC in particular, other than reinforcing what the NCAA was up to when they approved the entry of Canadian teams. The stated objective was to increase the number of Division II teams in the West, of which there are few.

    UBC and SFU in that league would give them six teams in football, (although it's a fair question how attractive the league is now that the closest football road trip is Ellensburg - and the other three teams are probably flights).

    There has been some realignment going on in the NCAA, and I doubt it's finished. I think, in the end, that Division II might find itself squeezed out of existence - with the top teams chasing D-I cash, and the bottom end returning to the non-scholarship existence of D-III.

  4. I wonder if Chayce is working the phones back to his buddies at WWU and seeing if some would considering transferring to Ottawa, as they would be able to play right away due to the fact the program was cut.

  5. There was definately rumors of the football program being cut, ever since Coach Ross took over in 2006. In any case there wasn't enough evidence which would cause an uproar from the athletic community at WWU. SFU and UBC are recruiting a few athletes from WWU, advertising the oppurtunity of being an exchange student, which would cut down the cost of attending as an international student. In Kyle Millers case, i believe he's returning to the CIS. Lastly it would be quite difficult to recruit the americans to play in the CIS because the CIS lacks athletic full ride scholarships, and the international fees aren't a small sum. Nonetheless it should be interesting to watch.