- Conference USA
Established 1995 Association NCAA Division Division I FBS Members 12 full-time; 3 part-time Sports fielded 21 (men's: 10; women's: 11) Region Southern United States Headquarters Irving, Texas Commissioner Britton Banowsky (since 2002) Website conferenceusa.com Locations
Conference USA, officially abbreviated C-USA, is a college athletic conference whose member institutions are located within the Southern United States. The conference participates in the NCAA's Division I in all sports. C-USA's offices are located in the Las Colinas business district of the Dallas suburb of Irving, Texas.
C-USA was founded in 1995 by the merger of the Metro Conference and Great Midwest Conference, two Division I conferences that did not sponsor football. To even out at 12 members (because Dayton, VCU, and Virginia Tech were left out of the merger) the conference invited the University of Houston, but UH could not start C-USA play for a year due to committing to being in the Southwest Conference in its final year. The conference immediately started competition in all sports, except football which started in 1996.
Members participate in baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, football, men's and women's golf, rowing (women's), men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and field, and volleyball.
In men's soccer, only six of the member schools participate – Marshall, Memphis, Southern Methodist, Tulsa, UAB, and UCF. For this sport, the conference makeup consists of three other schools from other conferences – Florida International from the Sun Belt Conference and the only two Southeastern Conference schools which sponsor the sport – South Carolina (which rejoined C-USA for the sport; it had been part of the Metro (the reunification of the Metro and Great Midwest in 1995 led to C-USA) in 1983-90 and 1993-94 for the sport) and Kentucky (which joined with its SEC mate in 2005).
Colorado College, normally an NCAA Division III school in all sports except men's ice hockey, competes in women's soccer as a Division I school in C-USA.
The conference saw radical changes for the 2005–06 academic year. The stage for these changes was set in 2003, when the Atlantic Coast Conference successfully lured Miami and Virginia Tech to make a move from the Big East Conference in 2004. Boston College would later make the same move, joining the ACC in 2005. In response to that series of moves, which depleted the Big East football conference, the Big East looked to Conference USA to attract replacements. Five C-USA members departed for the Big East, including three football-playing schools (Cincinnati, Louisville, and USF) and two non-football schools (DePaul and Marquette). Another two schools (Charlotte and Saint Louis) left for the Atlantic 10; TCU joined the Mountain West; and a ninth member, Army, which was C-USA football-only, opted to become an independent in that sport again.
With the loss of these teams, C-USA lured six teams from other conferences: UCF and Marshall from the MAC, as well as Rice, SMU, Tulsa, and later UTEP from the WAC. Note that UCF played in the MAC for football only; for all other sports, it was a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference.
With C-USA's membership now consisting of 12 schools, all of which sponsor football, the conference has adopted a two-division alignment.
Notably, C-USA's membership includes the largest university campus in the United States by undergraduate enrollment in UCF, and the two smallest schools in Division I FBS by undergraduate enrollment in Tulsa and Rice.
Institution Nickname Location Founded Type Total
Joined Endowment East Division University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Blazers Birmingham, Alabama 1969 Public 18,000 11,681 1995 $332 million University of Central Florida (UCF) Knights Orlando, Florida 1963 Public 50,000 45,398 2005 $114 million East Carolina University (ECU) Pirates Greenville, North Carolina 1907 Public 27,000 20,974 1997 (football)
2001 (all other sports)
$103 million Marshall University Thundering Herd Huntington, West Virginia 1837 Public 15,500 9,314 2005 $70 million University of Memphis Tigers Memphis, Tennessee 1912 Public 21,400 16,719 1995 $183 million University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Golden Eagles Hattiesburg, Mississippi 1910 Public 17,254 14,096 1995 $89 million West Division University of Houston Cougars Houston, Texas 1927 Public 39,820 31,764 1995 ** $622 million Rice University Owls Houston, Texas 1891 (opened 1912) Private 6,700 3,237 2005 $3.6 billion Southern Methodist University (SMU) Mustangs University Park, Texas (Dallas) 1911 Private 10,600 6,000 2005 $1.37 billion University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) Miners El Paso, Texas 1914 Public 20,500 17,261 2005 $151 million Tulane University Green Wave New Orleans, Louisiana 1834 Private 11,100 6,749 1995 $807 million University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane Tulsa, Oklahoma 1894 Private 4,170 2,987 2005 $915 million
** – Houston was a founding member of C-USA in 1995, but did not begin competing until 1996 because of its commitments to the final year of competition of the Southwest Conference.
- Big East:
- University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati Bearcats), 1995–2005
- DePaul University non-football member (DePaul Blue Demons), 1995–2005
- University of Louisville (Louisville Cardinals), 1995–2005
- Marquette University non-football member (Marquette Golden Eagles), 1995–2005
- University of South Florida (South Florida Bulls) non-football member, 1995–2002 (football program started in 1996, program joined C-USA in 2003) 1995–2005
- Atlantic 10:
- Mountain West:
Because men's soccer is not sponsored by all NCAA Division I conferences, three schools from other conferences are C-USA members for men's soccer only:
Sun Belt Conference Members
Southeastern Conference Members
NOTE: South Carolina had remained in the Metro for men's soccer shortly after departing the conference for the SEC in 1991, and left after the 1994-95 season when they were not permitted to join the reunified Conference USA for the sport only. The school was invited to rejoin the reunified conference in 2005, after which fellow SEC member Kentucky, the only other school that sponsors the sport, left the Mid-American Conference in that sport.
Additionally there is one women's soccer only member: Colorado College, which sponsors women's soccer and men's ice hockey as Division 1 sports and participates in the Division 3 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference in all other sports.
Southeastern Conference Members:
- Michael Slive 1995-2002
- Britton Banowsky 2002–present
In 2005, C-USA began a long-term television contract with CBS College Sports Network (then known as CSTV) to carry a variety of sports. The deal largely replaced the one it had with ESPN and ESPN Plus, though some C-USA football and men's basketball games are still carried by the ESPN networks. The college basketball men's championship game can be seen on CBS Sports. Beginning in 2011-12, CBS College Sports will be joined by FSN for football and select men's & women's basketball games. Some games, including the C-USA Football Championship game may be moved to Fox or FX.
School Soccer stadium Capacity Soccer-Only Members Colorado College Stewart Field n/a FIU University Park, Florida 2,000 Kentucky UK Soccer Complex 1,500 South Carolina Eugene E. Stone III Stadium 5,700
- Conference USA Baseball Tournament
- Conference USA Football Championship
- Conference USA Men's Basketball Tournament
- Conference USA Women's Basketball Tournament
Football bowl games
Conference USA sends teams to seven different bowl games throughout the country.
From 2011 to 2013, Conference USA will send teams to the following bowls.
- Liberty Bowl
- Hawaiʻi Bowl
- Armed Forces Bowl
- New Orleans Bowl
- Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl St. Petersburg
- Military Bowl (2012)
- TicketCity Bowl (2011 & 2013)
- ^ http://conferenceusa.cstv.com/championships/0910-c-usa-championships.html
- ^ WITH EYE ON BIG EAST, TECH JOINS ATLANTIC 10 HOKIES REJECT THE COLONIAL, WHICH GRABS VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH
- ^ http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/7102822/mountain-west-conference-usa-announce-football-only-alliance/
- ^ Conference USA to Host Women's Rowing Championship in May
- ^ Kansas rowing jumping ship to join C-USA
Conference USA East Division West Division Soccer-only members Rowing-only members History NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision conferences BCS Automatic Qualifier Non-Automatic Qualifier Future
- Big East:
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