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Report: WKU to join Conference USA as well

Antonio Andrews, Calvin Burnett, Jacolby Washington

The Sun Belt announced this past week it would be adding four new programs – Appalachian State and Georgia Southern as all-sport members, and Idaho and New Mexico State as football-only members — to begin competing in 2014. The additions will give the SBC 12 football members, enough for a conference championship game.

Provided the following is true, it looks like the Sun Belt will have to look (again) for one more school to get back to 12. The Bowling Green Daily News reports that Western Kentucky has received and accepted an invite to join Conference USA. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel confirmed the move as well. An official announcement is expected to come as soon as Monday.

Tulsa, a “current” C-USA member, is expected to announce sometime this week it will join the soon-to-be-renamed Big East. Provided that move comes to fruition — this news would obviously indicate as such — C-USA would then have an uneven 13 members. WKU would bring C-USA back up to 14.

Assuming our realignment spreadsheet is correct, the new C-USA will feature the following schools: former Sun Belt members FAU, FIU, North Texas and Middle Tennessee;  former WAC schools Louisiana Tech and UT-San Antonio; new members Old Dominion and Charlotte; and current members Marshall, Rice, Southern Mississippi, UAB and Texas-El Paso.

As for the Sun Belt, Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com reports that Liberty and James Madison, both of the 1-AA ranks, are the leading candidates to replace WKU. Because why the hell not, right?

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10 Responses to “Report: WKU to join Conference USA as well”
  1. bigdinla says: Mar 30, 2013 2:29 PM

    Stupid move by WKU. SB is about to sign a new deal that will make more money than CUSA.

  2. neomodernism says: Mar 30, 2013 2:54 PM

    Sun belt deal with?

    Replace western Kentucky with Sam Houston, Florida A&M, and one other (Lamar? UT Chattanooga? James Madison?) to go to 14 and keep some breathing room should the big 12 expand and or the new big east expand.

  3. kansacity88 says: Mar 30, 2013 3:15 PM

    Those would have been my first two choices neomod! I wouldn’t mind seeing a school or two jump up from the Gateway/Missouri Valley conference! Only problem I see with the G/MV is that they’d likely go to the MAC.

  4. kpageisgreat says: Mar 30, 2013 4:04 PM

    JMU has no interest in the Sun Belt. Not an ideal fit and JMU is stubborn.

  5. bigdinla says: Mar 30, 2013 4:18 PM

    Deal with ESPN.

    Also James Madison has expressed interest in joining the SBC. UTC can’t at this time due to finances. Liberty really wants in, but their politics are a little scary.

  6. kpageisgreat says: Mar 30, 2013 5:09 PM

    Yeah they expressed interest only not to burn bridges. They’re playing the field in hopes something opens up elsewhere. Smart but the odds of that happening is minimal.

    The beauty of this is that JMU is finally acknowledging the conference expansion that is going around them.

  7. nevadapistol says: Mar 30, 2013 6:04 PM

    The Sun Belt should not only add James Madison and Liberty, but also Delaware (a team that should have moved to FBS long ago) to create a much improved 14 team conference.

  8. dmcgrann says: Mar 30, 2013 7:22 PM

    I don’t know that Delaware is actively looking to move up. They don’t ever seem to reach out and play FBS schools, but seem to tend to play D-II schools. JMU certainly has the facility side of it right for a move up, but I don’t hear much from their administration regarding moving up, and Mickey Mathews has said often that he hates playing FBS schools, but understands why that’s necessary from a financial standpoint.

    All of these schools moving up all seem to have a report in hand from Carr Sports Associates which they put great faith in. It just seems to me that some folks would be wise to lay back and find out if the Carr reports are accurate and how much money these move up schools are actually going to lose. My guess is that it will be substantial.

    Liberty doesn’t appear to care. They’ve got money and facilities, and feel that it’s part of their mission to become the Notre Dame for evangelicals. But the differences between Liberty and most any other college or university you care to name are huge. They’re led by a fellow without a PhD, they don’t have tenure for the faculty (except for their law school), and there are just lots of other things that are going to turn a lot of academics off – and last I heard, it was the presidents of conference members who decide on invitations.

  9. Geoff Nichols says: Mar 31, 2013 4:55 AM

    neomodernism, stop floating the idea of FAMU going FBS. It’s not going to happen. They’re not going to leave the rivalries in the MEAC just to join the SBC.

  10. catfanatic1979v1 says: Mar 31, 2013 7:03 PM

    WKU is a natural rival for Marshall given how close they are located together.

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