Grand Canyon University to join West Coast Conference in 2025-26 season

May 10, 2024, 11:05 AM

Bryce Drew reacts during a game...

Head coach Bryce Drew of the Grand Canyon Antelopes will lead his program into the WCC as GCU makes the move from the WAC. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Grand Canyon University will join the West Coast Conference beginning in the 2025-26 school year, the university announced Friday.

GCU will compete in 14 sports within the WCC, which does not include men’s volleyball, swimming and diving or track and field. The school says options for the remaining sports are being evaluated, such as men’s volleyball continuing to play in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

In addition to the nine current WCC institutions of Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s, Loyola Marymount, Pacific, Pepperdine, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco and Santa Clara, Seattle U will join GCU in the transition.

“We have been blessed in the past 16 years to become one of the fastest growing institutions in the country with a true national footprint that is drawing students from all 50 states,” GCU president Brian Mueller said in a release. “This is due to our high-quality academic programs and innovative delivery platforms. Athletically, our teams have also emerged, going from a Division 2 power to a championship-caliber high mid-major in Division 1 in a very short time.”

In the men’s basketball NCAA Tournament this year, GCU beat WCC champion Saint Mary’s in the first round for the program’s first victory in the Division 1 tournament.

Among the benefits GCU will reap from joining the WCC are increased television exposure — the WCC has a multi-year media rights deal with ESPN and CBS Sports Networks — and improved travel logistics, such as time and cost.

“Grand Canyon University matches the mission and vision of the WCC with a focused investment in the holistic student-athlete experience,” WCC commissioner Stu Jackson said. “Under the leadership of president Brian Mueller and vice president of athletics Jamie Boggs, GCU has established itself as a nationally recognized institution with a robust athletic profile and a commitment to competitive excellence.”

In the 2024-25 school year, GCU will play its final Western Athletic Conference seasons before moving on to the WCC.

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