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.