New Look Conference USA
Conference USA added 5 schools on Friday. In the 2013-2014 academic year Conference USA will have 13 members in all sports except football. UNCC will begin conference participation in football in 2015. The metro area population of these schools is nearly 18 million.
UT-San Antonio, North Texas, La Tech, UNC-Charlotte, and Florida International all officially accepted invitations to join Conference USA. Conference USA is also looking to add Old Dominion University. ODU has not made their decision as of yet. The addition of the new members allows Conference USA to still have two divisions in football as well as a conference championship game. The divisions will be set at a later date. Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky and MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson both released statements saying that “The discussions are ongoing, what form the relationship will take is still to be determined, but both remain committed to working together.”
UNC-Charlotte was a charter member of Conference USA. The 49er’s left Conference USA for the Atlantic 10 Conference prior to the 2006-2006 academic year. UNC-Charlotte left the conference along with other charter members Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette, and South Florida all to the Big East, while St Louis, along with Charlotte, went to the Atlantic 10.
Expansion of Conference USA was necessary at this time for survival. Once the CUSA/MWC merger looked dead Conference USA needed to up their membership just to stay alive as a conference. With the introduction of new programs into the conference it creates new rivalries and new matchups which will give the conference a fresh new look and possibly pump some fan excitement back into it.
By Leigh Reese