About Conference USA
From its beginning in 1994, Conference USA's dedication to excellence has been the league's guiding principle and remains a common thread today and for a promising future. As we enter the 2012-13 season, C-USA is home to 12 nationally prominent, tradition-rich members in East Carolina, Houston, Marshall, Memphis, Rice, SMU, Southern Miss, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB, UCF and UTEP. This combination enhances men's and women's programs that are immersed in athletic success and academic prowess. Together, we are committed to excellence, integrity and leadership in athletics, academics and in our communities.
These C-USA institutions all sponsor Division I-A football, along with several other men's and women's athletic programs that compete regularly for NCAA Championships. C-USA sponsors competition in 20 sports - nine for men (baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis and indoor and outdoor track and field) and 11 for women (basketball, cross country, golf, rowing, softball, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field and volleyball).
The league sponsors numerous academic awards, including the Commissioner's Honor Roll and the Commissioner's Academic Medal, indicative of outstanding achievement in the classroom.
C-USA annually awards 12 postgraduate scholarships, along with the Sport Academic Award, Scholar Athletes of the Year and the Institutional Academic Excellence Award. Conference USA also added a Spirit of Service Award, recognizing student-athletes three times a year for a combination of significant community service efforts, good academic standing and participation in their elected sport.
SUCCESS ON THE PLAYING FIELD
Conference USA performers have achieved great success in competition, placing the league among the top conferences in the nation.
- 67 teams have earned bowl bids
- Member of the Bowl Championship Series
- Bowl tie-ins with the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl, Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, Military Bowl, R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl and the TicketCity Bowl
- Consistently rated as one of the top basketball leagues in the country
- 102 postseason teams (49 NCAA, 41 NIT, 6 CBI, 6 CIT)
- One National Championship title game appearance
- Three Final Four teams
- Seven Elite Eight NCAA Tournament teams
- One NIT Champion and four NIT semifinalists
- Inaugural CBI Champion
- 47 NCAA Tournament appearances
- 38 WNIT appearances
- One team in the NCAA Sweet 16
- Two WNIT semifinalists
- One WBI Champion
- 57 NCAA appearances
- Six College World Series appearances (2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2001), including five of the last eight
- 13 Super Regional appearances
- Has produced at least four NCAA teams in nine of the last 11 seasons
In addition, 36 volleyball teams, 61 men's and women's soccer teams and 34 softball teams have earned NCAA Tournament bids. C-USA has sent three men's soccer teams to the NCAA College Cup, three softball teams to the Women's College World Series and three volleyball teams to the Sweet 16. The league has also had eight national champions in NCAA track and field competition, one national champion in diving and numerous NCAA individual and team competitors in cross country, golf, swimming, tennis and track and field. Overall, Conference USA teams and individuals have made more than 650 NCAA appearances.
SUCCESS OFF THE FIELD
C-USA institutions are among the nation's best in academic performance among student-athletes, bolstered by the fact that student-athletes at league schools have a higher graduation rate than the general student population. Among C-USA's 5,000 student-athletes, there are champions off the playing field as well. In 17 years, 169 student-athletes earned national Capital One Academic All-America honors, while 588 were named All-District. In addition, more than 22,000 student-athletes have been named to the Commissioner's Honor Roll or received the Commissioner's Academic Medal, indicative of outstanding achievement in the classroom.
C-USA ON TV
C-USA enjoys significant television exposure through partnerships with FOX Sports Media Group, CBS Sports Network and ESPN. The multi-tiered selection process that is rooted in partnering with all three networks has substantially increased the number of national and regional appearances for football, men's and women's basketball, and all other conference sports.
C-USA DIGITAL NETWORK
The C-USA Digital Network officially launched in August of 2011. Network programming includes live streaming of non-televised events, video on demand, a weekly C-USA studio show, podcasting, regular-season and championship event highlights and conference-produced feature stories. In its first year, 1,164 events were streamed live and 8,126 videos were posted and available on the C-USA Digital Network, and that number just keeps growing. Monthly and yearly subscriptions offer fans access to events offered on all 12 of the C-USA member institution's athletic websites as well as C-USA network programming.
C-USA IN THE COMMUNITY
The conference's footprint is concentrated with 12 members in nine states and a combined area population of nearly 17 million. More than 1.1 million living alumni represent C-USA schools across the nation. With a renewed commitment to community involvement, the conference has begun development of several initiatives to maintain strong ties in C-USA cities, as well as with fans and alumni across the country. C-USA schools also place a priority on giving back to their communities through volunteer service with local and national organizations.
Conference USA has significant representation in the NCAA governance structure. The Presidents of the member institutions serve as the league's Board of Directors.
A PROUD HISTORY
Conference USA was formed in 1995 and quickly emerged as one of the nation's top conferences. The conference unveiled its name, logo and commissioner April 24, 1995 in Chicago. The league's charter members included Charlotte, Cincinnati, DePaul, Houston, Louisville, Marquette, Memphis, Saint Louis, Southern Miss, Tulane, UAB and USF. Eleven of the institutions began athletic participation in 1995, while Houston joined competition in the fall of 1996.
The league's headquarters were established in Chicago and after nine years, relocated to the current office in Irving, Texas. Britton Banowsky was named Commissioner in October 2002, succeeding Mike Slive, the league's first commissioner.
C-USA added East Carolina (September, 1996) and the United States Military Academy (March, 1997) as football members. ECU began league competition in 1997; Army in 1998 and UAB began football play in 1999. The league added TCU and ECU (1999) for all sports and they began competition in 2001. USF started C-USA football in 2003. After celebrating its 10th Anniversary during the 2004-05 season, Conference USA began a new chapter in 2005-06 when its current membership came together.
A PROMISING FUTURE
With more conference realignment taking the stage during the 2011-12 season, C-USA held onto its strong foundation, identity and a history that reflects the league's national presence. Conference USA will welcome six new institutions in 2013, including the return of charter member Charlotte along with FIU, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Old Dominion and UTSA. These six members will join with East Carolina, Marshall, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB and UTEP. In addition to the outstanding competition and strong athletic achievements these schools bring, the C-USA footprint will grow by nearly 20 percent. Additionally, the geography of these members allows for a divisional scheduling model that will be beneficial to the student-athletes, fan-friendly and cost effective.
These 14 extraordinary institutions and 17 years of remarkable history have reinforced the league's position in collegiate athletics, setting the course for the next decade and beyond.
Updated: July 1, 2012