Compiled by Woody Woodrum
For Herd Insider
May 1, 2012
IRVING, Texas - Conference USA, which has four schools departing to the Big East next season, is reloading by adding six schools in 2013, industry sources told CBSSports.com and college football reporter Brett McMurphy earlier today.
Florida International (FIU), Louisiana Tech, the University North Texas, the University of Texas-San Antonio, Charlotte and Old Dominion University will join C-USA giving the league 14 members.
These schools will replace Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF, who will move to the Big East for all sports in 2013, joined by Mountain West members Boise State and San Diego State for football only, a move made when C-USA and the Mtn. West were non-automatic qualifying conference for the BCS.
In 2014, the AQ status will go away as the BCS becomes a four-team playoff.
Charlotte is beginning its football program in 2013, with head coach Brad Lambert (a former Marshall, Georgia and Wake Forest assistant) in FCS.
ODU, which currently in the FCS, has been drawing over 22,000 to its games.
An official announcement could come as early as Friday, sources said.
C-USA and the Mountain West originally were going to merge into one league, but there were too many legal obstacles and that appears to longer be an end-game for the two conference, sources told McMurphy.
Instead, C-USA will increase to 14 members and the Mountain West will be at 10 members by adding Utah State and San Jose State in 2013, CBSSports.com reported last week and newspapers in Utah and San Jose have substantiated this week.
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.
By maintaining at least 12 football members in FCS for the time being, C-USA will continue to hold its football championship game.
C-USA's new members will come from the Sun Belt (FIU, North Texas), Western Athletic Conference (Louisiana Tech, UTSA), Atlantic 10 (Charlotte) and Colonial Athletic Association (ODU).
Louisiana Tech and UTSA leaving the WAC, along with Utah State and San Jose State, who are going to the Mountain West.
WAC members Texas State and Texas-Arlington also announced today they would be headed to the Sun Belt, so the WAC could be down to only two current members who will play FCS football in 2013, New Mexico State and Idaho.
Other WAC members who would remain, without football, would be Denver, Seattle and Boise State, sending all its Olympic Sports teams to the WAC.
Another league that will be greatly impacted is the CAA, which already has lost Georgia State to the Sun Belt, and other moves appear imminent.
Two months ago CBSSports.com reported that CAA members VCU and George Mason were in discussions to join the Atlantic 10.
Also considering that move is Butler of the Horizon League, whose move to the A-10 was discussed on various websites on Tuesday and Monday.
Those moves are expected to happen in 2013 as well.
When completed, Conference USA's new 14-team league is expected to be split into two divisions: East - East Carolina, FIU, Marshall, Southern Miss, UAB, Charlotte and ODU; West - Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Rice, Texas San Antonio, Tulane, Tulsa and UTEP.
It’s possible La. Tech could play in the East Division until such time as ODU and Charlotte, who fields its first football team in 2013, are ready to move up to FBS from FCS (previously I-AA), giving C-USA two divisions of six each.