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Pacific to leave Big West for WCC, Thinks SDSU Smells Bad

(Okay, the second part of the headline is pure speculation. That's what the Internet is for.)

The Record, a newspaper in Stockton, California, is reporting that the University of the Pacific is set to leave the Big West Conference for the West Coast Conference. The report says the nine university presidents of the WCC should be voting today, with seven votes needed for Pacific's inclusion.

It wasn't long ago that Pacific and Utah State were locked in a perpetual Gonzaga/Saint Mary's-type battle for the Big West Conference title. Pacific also produced a number one overall draft pick in Michael Olowakandi in the last decade. However, the Tigers went just 11-19 last season, but have won 20 games in seven of the last 11 years.

The move would make for 10 conference members. Some are speculating out loud that the WCC is preparing for BYU's departure -- this move alone likely indicates very little in this regard. Many schools were somewhat displeased with the new 9-team conference because of the strange scheduling, so if BYU were to leave, it would be back to 9 teams. And, the WCC was just fine before BYU arrived. If another school is added, then we might be talking.

Pacific fits the WCC profile of religious affiliation, being associated with the United Methodist Church. It is located in Stockton, California, and enrolls about 6,200 students. The Tigers play hoops in the Alex G. Spanos Center, which holds 6,150 -- which would be second to BYU in WCC arena capacity. They are coached by Bob Thomason, who has been at the helm for 24 years.

We'll keep our eyes open for further news or official announcements as the story develops.

***UPDATE*** 3/28, 12:35 PM MT

The West Coast Conference just tweeted this video officially welcoming Pacific to the conference.