SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. —The Pac-12 Conference announced Friday that the University of Arkansas at Little Rock has accepted an invitation to join the Conference as an affiliate member in the sport of wrestling.
Little Rock joins Cal Poly, CSU Bakersfield, Arizona State, Oregon State and Stanford in providing the Pac-12 with a sixth member in wrestling.
The Pac-12 Conference dropped from six members to five after Boise State discontinued its wrestling program following the 2017 season. While the NCAA requires a conference to have at least six active members that sponsor the applicable sport in order for it to be eligible for automatic qualification in the NCAA Championships, it does provide a two-year transition period to allow for a conference to secure a sixth member.
At its recent Pac-12 CEO meetings, the presidents and chancellors approved extending an invite to Little Rock to compete as an affiliate member in wrestling.
Little Rock will enter its inaugural season in 2019-20 after becoming one of the newest NCAA Division I wrestling programs and the first in the state of Arkansas.
The Pac-12 Conference has sponsored wrestling for its membership since 1963. Arizona State captured the 1998 NCAA title, becoming the first and only team west of the Rocky Mountains to claim an NCAA title in wrestling. In addition, Pac-12 wrestlers have claimed 37 NCAA individual titles, most recently by Arizona State's Zahid Valencia who successfully defended his title at 174 pounds at this year's championships.