Citing increased exposure and football bowl game opportunities, WKU President Gary Ransdell and Athletic Director Todd Stewart announced Monday that the school will join Conference USA on July 1, 2014.
Following a unanimous vote by the WKU Board of Regents late Monday morning, WKU officials and the Conference USA commissioner held a news conference a short time later announcing the pact.
C-USA commissioner Britton Banowsky said WKU brings a lot to the conference.
“We want to provide an opportunity to the next generation of great universities, and (WKU) certainly fits that profile. I think they’re a growing university connected to some large markets like Nashville and Louisville, and frankly I think they have a tradition of excellence,” said Banowsky.
WKU will play one more season in the Sun Belt, a conference WKU joined in 1982.
The Glasgow City Council has unanimously passed a resolution pledging the city's support for an expansion of the WKU-Glasgow campus.
Glasgow mayor Rhonda Riherd Trautman says the resolution passed at Monday night's meeting offers the city's bonding authority to help fund a building expansion at the school's regional campus in Barren County.
WKU President Gary Ransdell has talked repeatedly in recent weeks about the need for the school to find alternative revenue streams in order to pay for major projects, in light of declining state aid for higher education.
WKU-Glasgow administrators say they need more classrooms, office space, and food services.
WKU President Gary Ransdell says anything less than a five-percent tuition increase next year will result in a loss of jobs on campus. In a presentation to faculty and staff Wednesday, Dr. Ransdell outlined his thoughts on the school’s budget, tuition rates, and employee compensation.
He says if the Council on Postsecondary Education approves a four-percent tuition hike instead of the five-percent increase the school is seeking, it won’t be enough.
“Then we have to figure out where we’re going to come up with $1.3 million. A one-percent tuition increase equals $1.3 million. So we’ll have to reduce our spending by $1.3 million in some fashion or another. And the message here is that’s likely to result in a loss of jobs.”
Dr. Ransdell also said faculty and staff will likely see no salary increase next year, because such a boost would have to be paid for by eliminating positions on campus. WKU Faculty Regent Patty Minter told WKU Public Radio after the meeting that she disagrees with the notion that the only way to increase pay is by cutting jobs.