WAC a Cautionary Tale for Superconferences

WAC a Cautionary Tale for Superconferences

Karl Benson never will forget the April day in 1994 he was hired as WAC commissioner.

"I interviewed on Sunday and got a call that night. I was offered the job and told they were adding six teams," says Benson, who was hired away from the MAC and remains the WAC's commissioner.

"I was surprised. I was handed off the six schools. The WAC's geography stretched from El Paso to Honolulu. With the new schools, it went from Tulsa to Honolulu and Houston to Laramie."

Just like that, Benson was in charge of the first 16-team conference. Little did he know that he was seeing what could be standard in the future, as talk of college football morphing into four 16-team "super conferences" is all the rage.

But the nation's first "super" conference lasted only three years (1996-98), torn apart by disparate athletic agendas -and unwieldy boundaries.

"I didn't think it was a good idea at the time," Utah athletic director Chris Hill says. "Let's just say that I was very skeptical. That's a fair way of putting it. ...

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