SBD/May 2, 2012/Colleges

Conference USA Poised To Add Six Schools In '13 To Offset Losses To Big East

Conference USA is seeing four schools leave for the Big East next season, but the league is "reloading by adding six schools in 2013,” according to sources cited by Brett McMurphy of CBSSPORTS.com. Florida Int'l Univ., Louisiana Tech Univ., Univ. of North Texas, Univ. of Texas-San Antonio, Univ. of North Carolina-Charlotte and Old Dominion Univ. “will join C-USA giving the league 14 members.” It is unclear how soon after '13 Charlotte, which is beginning its football program that year, and ODU, which is currently in the FCS, "would be able to compete as a C-USA football member.” Sources said that an official announcement “could come as early as Friday.” C-USA and the Mountain West Conference had talked about merging into one league, but sources said that there "were too many legal obstacles and that will no longer happen." C-USA instead “will increase to 14 members and the Mountain West will be at 10 members by adding Utah State and San Jose State in 2013.” Even though C-USA and the MWC “will remain separate leagues, they continue to work together on a plan to share scheduling, television and marketing resources” (CBSSPORTS.com, 5/1). Charlotte will start its football program playing as an independent on the FCS level and "must stay at that level for at least two years before moving up to FBS.” The school's other sports programs “conceivably could join C-USA earlier.” Charlotte had been a member of C-USA from '95-'05 (David Scott, CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/2).

THE SUNNY SIDE
: In Nashville, Adam Sparks reports Texas State Univ. and Univ. of Texas-Arlington today will officially join the Sun Belt Conference during a conference call. Texas State will play its first FBS season this year in the WAC and "then join the Sun Belt as a full-fledged member in 2013.” UT Arlington will “also play one year as an Olympic-sport/basketball member in the WAC before joining the Sun Belt in the same capacity.” Georgia State Univ. also "recently added to the Sun Belt for the 2013 football season” (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 5/2). WAC interim Commissioner Jeff Hurd has “started assembling candidate schools that could join the conference in football to replace four current conference members he anticipates will leave to join the Mountain West (Utah State, San Jose State) and Conference USA (Texas-San Antonio and Louisiana Tech)” (DENVER POST, 5/2).

BUTLER MAKES IT BETTER: ESPN.com’s Andy Katz cited sources as saying that Butler Univ. today “will officially join the Atlantic 10 for the 2013-14 season.” Butler will “leave the Horizon League in all sports and join the A-10 after it formally seeks admission to the league.” The university will “replace Temple and become the A-10’s 14th member for the 2013-14 season.” A source said that the A-10 “has had talks" with George Mason Univ. and Virginia Commonwealth Univ. of the Colonial Athletic Association, but the "latter is on hold with the departure" of VCU AD Norwood Teague to the same position at Minnesota (ESPN.com, 5/1). YAHOO SPORTS’ Mike Huguenin wrote the Butler move “is a no-brainer.” The A-10 is “a better league, and Butler's addition, not to mention [George Mason] and VCU if they come aboard, makes it even better.” The additions lead “to more NCAA bids, which leads to more money for every league member” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/1).
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