Following up on reports that first surfaced in November, Conference USA officially announced Tuesday it has expanded its conference roll by two.
As expected, Middle Tennessee State University and Florida Atlantic University were welcomed as members of the conference Tuesday. The schools, current members of the Sun Belt, will officially join Conference USA July 1 of this year.
So, for the 2013 season, Conference USA will consist of 14 football-playing members: former WAC schools Louisiana Tech and UT-San Antonio; former Sun Belt schools FIU and North Texas; FAU and MTSU; and eight current members — East Carolina, Marshall, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB and UTEP. Old Dominion and UNC-Charlotte are joining this year as well, although they won’t become football-playing members until 2015.
However, two of those current members — ECU and Tulane — will join the Big East in 2014. Current C-USA members Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF will be moving to that conference in July of this year.
Additionally, speculation is beginning to grow that Tulsa could bolt for either the Big East or Mountain West. In fact, Tulsa World wrote over the weekend that “[t]he university’s switch from Conference USA membership to Big East Conference membership seems to have graduated from a possibility to a likelihood.”