Conference USA Adds Five New Members
May 4, 2012
IRVING, Texas - University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Charlotte), Florida International University (FIU), Louisiana Tech University, University of North Texas and University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) have finalized comprehensive membership agreements with Conference USA, Commissioner Britton Banowsky announced today.
"We are excited about adding these new members as part of our bold strategy that focuses on growing institutions in large media markets," Banowsky said. "There is a tremendous upside here. This is an opportunity for us to add a mixture of established and emerging programs. We also remain committed to divisional scheduling models that are student-athlete and fan-friendly. The more we analyzed it, the more it made sense."
Check out today's live press conferences:
Each new member will join the league in all sports for 2013, Charlotte will begin conference participation in football in 2015. The metro area population of these schools is nearly 18 million. Existing members include East Carolina University, Marshall University, Rice University, University of Southern Mississippi, Tulane University, The University of Tulsa, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and University of Texas El Paso (UTEP). Divisions will be set in the near future and the Conference intends to continue hosting its Football Championship game.
Conference USA and the Mountain West will continue to discuss a future affiliation that could begin as early as 2013. Both Conferences agreed that adding membership at this time was important and have carefully coordinated new membership plans. Additional expansion remains a possibility.
"The discussions with the Mountain West are ongoing," Banowsky added. "What form the relationship will take is still to be determined, but both remain committed to working together."
"The Presidents and Chancellors of Conference USA universities are pleased to welcome these five distinguished institutions to C-USA," said Dr. Scott Cowen, Tulane University president and Chair of Conference USA's Board of Directors. "Conference USA has always operated in a way that reflects the values of higher education and works very hard to balance the athletics and academic interests of its student-athletes at the highest level. These institutions clearly share those values."
Here is a quick look at the five new members of Conference USA: