DENVER – After partnering in 2021 to provide an automatic qualification to the FCS Playoffs, the Western Athletic Conference and ASUN Conference have announced plans to continue and expand the partnership in 2022 and beyond. The WAC and ASUN share in a forward-thinking approach to provide our institutions and student-athletes uniquely competitive opportunities on the national landscape.

In addition to the partnership providing one of the leagues’ member institutions an automatic bid to the FCS Playoffs, the partnership will provide for other opportunities to strengthen both leagues, now and in the future. Through this strategic and intentional alignment, the WAC and ASUN will be able to provide opportunities to play crossover games against similar institutions and build resumes that will position its programs for at-large selections for years to come.

“During this transformational time of the NCAA, the WAC applauds the creative and adaptive leadership our member institutions exhibit. This strategic partnership has established a guidestone for strength and stability in the ever-changing landscape of collegiate athletics” said WAC Commissioner Brian Thornton. “Our goal remains to become one of the premier FCS conferences in the country and partnering with the ASUN now and in the future allows us to continue to move towards that target at record speed.”

Sam Houston won the inaugural WAC/ASUN Challenge to earn the group’s AQ with a 6-0 record and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the FCS playoffs. In addition, WAC member Stephen F. Austin earned an at-large selection. The WAC also adds University of the Incarnate Word in 2022, who won the Southland Conference last season and earned an automatic selection to the playoffs. New ASUN member, Kennesaw State, earned an automatic selection as champions of the Big South Conference. Having four institutions that played in the postseason ranks the partnership among the elite FCS conferences nationwide.

Additionally, through their respective memberships, the WAC and ASUN are positioned in many of the country’s most emerging markets. Representation spans Texas, Utah, Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama and Kentucky. Through this alignment, fans across most of the southern and southwestern United States should enjoy dynamic, high-level college football.

The WAC and ASUN are currently engaged in formalizing the process by which the AQ will be awarded. More information will be released when available.