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C-USA to welcome 8 newcomers

Jun. 29, 2013 @ 11:49 PM

HUNTINGTON — July 1, 2013, marks a new beginning for Conference USA.

Eight established members are officially joined Monday by eight newcomers in the new C-USA alignment.

Marshall, East Carolina, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB and UTEP welcome Charlotte, Florida International, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee State, North Texas, Old Dominion and UT-San Antonio to the league.

“We’re really excited at Marshall with our new members coming in,” Thundering Herd men’s basketball head coach Tom Herrion said in a video clip on ConferenceUSA.com. “I think it’s the first time our fan base has felt so energized because of the regional games the new membership provides to our fan base.

“I think it’s so valuable to us and it’s only going to enhance our enthusiasm for Conference USA.”

Old Dominion and Charlotte will compete in all C-USA sports this year except football. The Monarchs and 49ers are schools in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) — the level formerly known as NCAA Division I-AA — until moving up to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level and entering C-USA competition in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

The new members replace Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF who are now part of the American Athletic Conference formerly known as the Big East Conference.

C-USA will lose East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa to the American Athletic Conference in 2014 when Western Kentucky comes in.

Celebrations are planned Monday at some of the new schools.

Middle Tennessee State has an event at Sam’s Sports Grill in Murfreesboro, Tenn., where Blue Raider cheerleaders and school officials will be greeting fans. About 52 businesses and restaurants in town are participating by having employees wear specially designed T-shirts.

“We’re real excited about coming into Conference USA,” MTSU men’s basketball head coach Kermit Davis said. “I think the biggest thing is our fan base has really embraced it and our student body on campus has really embraced it.

“From a season ticket standpoint and a fan standpoint I think it’s going to be a great move for us.”

Florida Atlantic is having an event at its football stadium and will debut its new helmet and uniform.

C-USA has a new look website (www.conferenceusa.com) and a new logo.



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