The Pac-12 Conference announced on Friday that the University of Arkansas at Little Rock has accepted an invitation to join the league as an affiliate member in wrestling.
According to a release, the addition brings the conference’s wrestling membership back up to six, with Arizona State, Oregon State, Stanford, Cal State Bakersfield and Cal Poly rounding out the membership. Boise State had been a member until it discontinued its wrestling program after the 2017 season.
The NCAA requires conferences to have six members in order to automatically qualify for participation in the NCAA Championships — but a two-year transition period allows leagues time to seek and secure a sixth member.
Pac-12 presidents and chancellors approved the invitation at a recent meeting of conference leadership. Little Rock will become the first NCAA Division I wrestling program in the state of Arkansas, and will begin Pac-12 competition in the 2019-20 season.
“This is a monumental day both for the Little Rock Athletic Department and our wrestling program,” said Chasse Conque, UA Little Rock’s vice chancellor and director of athletics in a release on the school's website. “Today’s announcement is further proof of our commitment to building a nationally competitive wrestling program. We are most appreciative for the support from the Pac-12 Council and conference officials as we look forward to competing this fall in one of the nation’s premier conferences. Our membership in the Pac-12 will provide our wrestling program instant credibility and further strengthens the Little Rock Trojan brand.”
In addition to landing a conference home, the Little Rock wrestling program is in the midst of constructing a new facility.
May 24 update - the remainder of the roof should be up by the end of the day.— Little Rock Wrestling (@LittleRockWRES) May 24, 2019
Our facility continues to take shape and will be a huge asset as we get ready to compete in the #ConferenceOfChampions. #LittleRocksTeam pic.twitter.com/bhvC9aDCRw
Wrestling has been a Pac-12 sponsored sport since 1963.