Florida Atlantic, Middle Tennessee to join Conference USA

By Kevin Kelley -

C-USA 2014The Florida Atlantic Owls and the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders will join Conference USA in 2014, multiple sources have reported.

Harry Minium broke the news this morning that Middle Tennessee was the first school to accept an offer to join Conference USA. Later in the day, ESPN confirmed the news and then reported that Florida Atlantic would also move to C-USA. The Sun-Sentinel has also confirmed FAU’s move.

Both Middle Tennessee and Florida Atlantic are current members of the Sun Belt Conference. MTSU has been in the SBC since 2001, while FAU has been a member since 2005.

With East Carolina and Tulane announcing yesterday that they are leaving for the Big East in 2014, Conference USA acted fast to replace them.

The addition of MTSU and FAU will give Conference USA 12 members in 2014 and 14 members in 2015. Here is what the conference will look like over the next few seasons:


East Carolina, Florida International, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, North Texas, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB, UTEP, UTSA


Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulsa, UAB, UTEP, UTSA


Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Louisiana Tech, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Old Dominion, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulsa, UAB, UTEP, UTSA

Update (11/29/12): Conference USA has officially announced the addition of Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee effective no later than July 1, 2014.

“We are excited to announce these two schools will join Conference USA,” Commissioner Britton Banowsky said. “Besides being tremendous institutions, this is a logical move for us. These schools fit well within our strategic plan to be a major market, two-division conference that is student-athlete and fan friendly. We know they will make great contributions to our bright future.”

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Comments (17)

NMSU makes since, FAU does not. C-USA already has FIU coming abroad, do they really need 2 Miami schools? Wouldn’t South Alabama or Arkansas State add new markets?

so what’s the latest with Idaho? back to FCS or Mountain West (only logical choice, but these days logic is out the window I guess)

does this mark the end of the Sun Belt as a football conference as well?

only going to have 7(?) members left. now is the time for Coastal Carolina and Appalachian State to make some moves.

If I were Idaho I’d seriously consider playing Big Sky football. I’m sure they’re hemorrhaging money by staying FBS.

Texas State is coming to the Sun Beltnext year so I think they will have 8 members. They are also rumored to be talking to Appalachian State

As an Arkansas State and Sun Belt fan, this sucks. Losing FAU isn’t a big deal, but losing MTSU and possibly WKU hurts.

let’s dont assume wku and nmsu are going to the cusa. it will have usa, troy, wku, asu, ull, ulm, gsu, and tex st for football. ualr and uta for everyting else. 8 football/10 no-foot. if wku stays, add georgia southern, app state, jacksonville state (they allwant to go), and maybe jackson state or even tenn state to xpand the market and get to 12 teams… maybe add liberty and nmsu for football only. have 14 teams in everything. if they do go to cusa, just replace wku with either jackson state or tenn state, the one that didnt get in. and then dd another football only member to be with liberty… coastal carolina or ut-chatt maybe?

time for Tulsa or UTEP to jump ship and join the MWC. NMSU would be a better C-USA fit. This realignment is really senseless. In a perfect world NCAA football would work conference free (opposed to olympic sports) and be a three or four-tiered relegation and promotion system based upon geography. NW, SE, NE, SW ‘Divisions’ would each be 16 members strong (64 at the A-level, 64 at the B-level) and have their own conference championships for top bowls. If we really care about the student-athlete and the burden of missed classes due to travel, this is the only way.

would like to see the MWC set up like this.


-San Jose State
-Colorado State
-Air Force
-Utah State

-New Mexico
-New Meixco State
-Fresno State

Assuming the MWC were to go to 14 like that by picking up Idaho, NMSU, UTEP and Tulsa, your divisions aren’t very efficient geographically. Better to go this way:
Mountain Division (a/k/a I-25 and Tulsa):
UNM, NMSU, UTEP, Tulsa, Wyoming, CSU, Air Force
West Division:
Hawai’i, SJSU, Fresno, USU, Idaho, Nevada, UNLV
Of course, better to hold off in the event of a PAC-14 or PAC-16 happening. If Oklahoma and Ok State say the heck and go PAC, and UT and Tech follow, too… then you need to be ready in the MWC to absorb most of the remainders that don’t go elsewhere. If you’re already at 14, that won’t work. Fracturing the XII leads to this:
PAC: picks up Okla, Ok State, Texas, TT
B1G: picks up Iowa State, Kansas State
SEC: picks up WVU, Kansas
ACC: picks up nothing
Leftovers for MWC to chew on: Baylor & TCU. But BYU’s out there too. Do you really want to take Idaho and NMSU and steal UTEP and Tulsa rather than holding tight at 10 for now?

Then under this PAC-16 creation apocalypse scenario, you get a MWC-16 that could look like this:
Mountain Division:
UNM, NMSU, Wyoming, CSU, Air Force, Baylor, TCU, UTEP
West Division:
Hawai’i, SJSU, Fresno, USU, Idaho, BYU, Nevada, UNLV