CHICAGO (AP) Chicago State is joining the Western Athletic Conference as an all-sports member.
The university and the WAC announced the move Wednesday. Chicago State will become a WAC member on July 1, and the Cougars will begin athletic competition in the conference beginning with the 2013-2014 season next fall.
Athletic Director Dan Schumacher says joining the WAC is important for Chicago State because coaches will no longer have to recruit and compete without the chance of an automatic qualifier to NCAA championships at the end of the season.
The Western Athletic Conference currently includes California State-Bakersfield, University of Idaho, Grand Canyon University, New Mexico State, Seattle University and Utah Valley University.
Chicago State plans to add men and women's soccer as part of the agreement to join the WAC.
About an hour and 40 minutes before the Bears kicked off against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, Bears chairman George H. McCaskey released a statement following President Trump's comments about the NFL and National Anthem protests over the weekend:
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told CBS his team will remain in the locker room and will not participate in the National Anthem before Sunday's game.
A number of players knelt during the Star-Spangled Banner prior to Sunday morning's Baltimore Ravens-Jacksonville Jaguars game at Wembley Stadium in London, and Jaguars owner Shad Khan locked arms with his players during the anthem.
Other NFL owners released statements on the Trump comments over the weekend, too:
The Pittsburgh Steelers will not participate in the National Anthem on Sunday at Soldier Field, according to Jamie Erdahl.
The decision follows Donald Trump's recent comments on NFL protests at a rally in Huntsville, Alabama.
"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He's fired. He's fired," Trump said.
No word on what the Bears will do yet, but the Steelers will be in the locker room.