Western Kentucky to Join Conference USA in 2014
April 1, 2013
IRVING, Texas - Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky has announced the league has entered into a membership agreement with Western Kentucky University, effective July 1, 2014.
"We welcome Western Kentucky to Conference USA," Banowsky said. "The tradition of the University and its athletics success is truly remarkable. The men's basketball program has made seven NCAA appearances since 2000, the women's basketball program has advanced to three NCAA Final Fours and football went to a bowl game last season in just its fourth year in the FBS."
Located in Bowling Green, Ky., the school has an enrollment of 21,124 students and sponsors 19 NCAA Division I sports. The Hilltoppers have made 23 appearances in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, including a trip to the 2008 Sweet Sixteen and the 1971 Final Four. Western Kentucky is ranked eighth nationally among NCAA schools for winning percentage. The women's basketball team has made 16 trips to the NCAA Tournament, with 11-straight appearances between 1985-95 and three trips to the NCAA Final Four.
Additionally, football has produced 70 All-Americans at the FCS and FBS levels, transitioning to a bowl eligible FBS member in 2009. WKU volleyball has been to five NCAA Tournaments in the last six years. Baseball has averaged 34 wins in the last five seasons with 17 MLB draft picks over the last four years. The Hilltopper track & field program has won 22 conference championships and produced 22 All-America selections since 2008. (More about Western Kentucky)
The Hilltoppers receive regular coverage in nearby Nashville, Tenn., and Louisville, Ky. Both cities are within 90 miles of campus and rank among the Top 50 television markets in the country at No. 29 and No. 48, respectively. In partnership with the University and WKYU-PBS, WKU Athletics also sponsors the Hilltopper Sports Satellite Network (HSSN) to provide audio and high-definition video from WKU events. HSSN recently purchased a new HD truck, which will help provide outstanding content for the C-USA Digital Network.
Western Kentucky will officially become a member on July 1, 2014. Complete Conference USA membership for the 2014-15 season will also include the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Charlotte), Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University (FIU), Louisiana Tech University, Marshall University, Middle Tennessee State University, University of North Texas, Old Dominion University, Rice University, University of Southern Mississippi, The University of Tulsa, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) and University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA).