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C-USA welcomes new members

The Parthenon

Published: Friday, January 25, 2013

Updated: Friday, January 25, 2013 13:01

Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky announced the conference would add two schools this summer.

“We are very pleased to welcome Middle Tennessee and Florida Atlantic to Conference USA next season,” Banowsky said in a news release. “We look forward to supporting a 16-member league, with 14 football teams competing for Conference USA.”

Middle Tennessee, located in Murfreesboro, Tenn., has an enrollment of 25,000 students and is the largest undergraduate school in the state. It sponsors 17 NCAA Division I sports teams.

MTSU was set to join C-USA next year, however, the school’s President, Sidney A. McPhee, felt it was in the best interest of the school to accelerate the move.

“Conference USA’s television partnerships, increased bowl tie-ins and larger national footprint will provide better and stronger platforms for our athletics program and our university,” Banowsky said.

Florida Atlantic, located Boca Raton, Fla., sponsors 19 NCAA Division I sports teams and has an enrollment of 30,000 students. FAU just opened a 30,000-seat football stadium in 2011, and the conference expects FAU’s location near Miami will help attract C-USA fans to attend events at the school.

Patrick Chun, FAU Director of Athletics, said many things brought the conference to the school’s attention.

“This is a bold and decisive step for our entire athletic program,” Chun said. “Conference USA will bring forth new challenges, opportunities and expectations. We will continue to build our athletic program to represent Florida Atlantic University on the highest of levels.”

All of FAU’s 19 sports teams will become members of one conference for the first time since 2001.

Both school’s membership will become effective in July, and will appear on several Marshall Athletic schedules next year. Both schools paid a $700,000 exit fee to leave their conferences.

MTSU and FAU will join Florida International, UT-San Antonio, Charolotte, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, and Old Dominion and will enter the leauge in 2013. The two schools will replace the University of Central Florida, Memphis, Houston and Southern Methodist—who have all announced their departure from C-USA.

Courtney Sealey can be contacted at sealey3@marshall.edu.

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