|Conference USA |
|Division||Division I FBS|
|Sports fielded||19 (men's: 9; women's: 10)|
|Region||Southern United States|
|Commissioner||Judy MacLeod (since 2015)|
Conference USA (C-USA or CUSA) is a collegiate 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 for football, which did not launch until 1996.
- UAB was a full but non-football member from 1995 to 1999. UAB announced the discontinuation of their football program effective immediately following the 2014 football season, but has since announced that the football program will return in 2017.
- FIU was a men's soccer affiliate from 2005 to 2013.
- Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters basketball uses their traditional Columbia blue instead of the official Tech blue.
- Charlotte was a full but non-football member from 1995 to 2005 and again from 2013 to 2015.
- Some Old Dominion women's sports use "Monarchs" and others "Lady Monarchs", as follows:
- Monarchs – Field hockey, lacrosse
- Lady Monarchs – Basketball, golf, rowing, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis
- Old Dominion was an affiliate in men's golf, women's golf, rowing, men's tennis, and women's tennis in 2012–13; full but non-football member in 2013–14.
- Western Kentucky was an affiliate in women's swimming & diving in 2013–14.
|University of Kentucky||Lexington, Kentucky||1865||26,054||Wildcats||2005||soccer (M)||Southeastern|
|University of New Mexico||Albuquerque, New Mexico||1889||35,211||Lobos||2013||soccer (M)||Mountain West|
|University of South Carolina||Columbia, South Carolina||1801||28,481||Gamecocks||2005||soccer (M)||Southeastern|
- Affiliate in football from 1997 to 2001.
- Houston was a founding member of C-USA in 1995 but did not begin competition until 1996 because of its commitments to the final year of competition in the Southwest Conference.
Former affiliate members
Full members (all-sports) Full members (non-football) Affiliate members (football-only) Affiliate member (other sport)Other Conference Other Conference
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.
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 South Florida; Louisville moved to the ACC in 2014) and two non-football schools (DePaul and Marquette; both joined the New Big East in 2013). Another two schools (Charlotte and Saint Louis) left for the Atlantic 10; TCU joined the Mountain West (and is now in the Big 12 with several other former Southwest Conference members); 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.
In 2013, C-USA entered its next phase with the departure of four schools (Houston, Memphis, SMU, and UCF) for the American Athletic Conference, the football-sponsoring portion of the former Big East Conference. This was again the result of Big East schools leaving for the ACC, this time being Syracuse and Pittsburgh. It was announced in early 2012 that Conference USA was in talks with the Mountain West Conference about forming either a football alliance or conference merger in the future.
However, when the conferences discussed their plans with the NCAA, they were told that if they merged, the new league would receive only one automatic bid to NCAA championships; at least one of the former conferences would lose expected future revenues from the NCAA men's basketball tournament; and at least one former conference would lose exit fees from any schools that departed for the new league. As a result, both C-USA and the MW backed away from a full merger. As of April 2012, the likeliest scenario was an all-sports alliance in which both conferences retain separate identities. However, after the MW added more members, the alliance was apparently abandoned.
For men's soccer, there was a chance that the MW, SEC, and C-USA along with the one Sun Belt member (FIU), that sponsor the sport, would play under the C-USA's men's soccer program. The MW, which does not sponsor men's soccer, would take three of the four members that offer the sport (UNLV, Air Force, New Mexico—San Diego State is a Pac-12 associate member in that sport), join C-USA's three full members that offer the sport (UAB, Marshall, Tulsa), the two SEC members already in C-USA for the sport (Kentucky, South Carolina), and the Sun Belt's FIU. However, the only MW member school that ultimately moved to C-USA men's soccer was New Mexico.
For the 2013–14 season C-USA invited five new members to join their conference, with all accepting. UTSA and Louisiana Tech joined from the WAC and North Texas and FIU, (an affiliate member of C-USA joining for men's soccer in 2005), from the Sun Belt Conference. Old Dominion, which already housed five of its sports in C-USA, moved the rest of its athletic program from the CAA (except for field hockey, women's lacrosse and wrestling, with the first two sports joining the new Big East and the other the MAC because C-USA does not sponsor those sports) and upgraded its football program from the Football Championship Subdivision. Charter member Charlotte returned from the A-10 and accelerated its recently established football program, which was set to begin play in 2013 as an FCS school, to FBS in 2015 with full conference rights in 2016.
On November 27, 2012, it was announced that Tulane would leave the conference to join the Big East in all sports and East Carolina would join the Big East for football only (ECU's membership was upgraded to all-sports in March 2013 after the Big East's non-football members, save for ACC-bound Notre Dame, announced they were leaving to form a new conference which took the Big East name, leaving the football-playing members to become the American Athletic Conference). Conference USA responded by adding Middle Tennessee and Florida Atlantic, both from the Sun Belt. On April 1, 2013, Conference USA announced they were adding Western Kentucky, also from the Sun Belt, to offset Tulsa's departure to The American in all sports which was confirmed the next day.
Citing yet unproven increasing financial difficulties, the UAB football program was shut down on December 2, 2014. According to Conference USA bylaws, member schools must sponsor football. In January 2015, UAB announced an independent re-evaluation of the program and the finances involved, leaving open a possible resumption of the program as early as the 2016 season. On January 29, 2015, the conference announced that there was no time pressure in making a decision regarding UAB's future membership. The conference also stated that it would wait for the results of the new study before any further discussions on the subject. On June 1, UAB announced that it would reinstate football effective with the 2016 season, presumably keeping the school in C-USA for the immediate future. The return of football was later pushed back to 2017.
Commissioner Britton Banowsky stepped down on Septerber 15, 2015 to become the head of the College Football Playoff Foundation. Executive associate commissioner and chief operating officer Judy MacLeod was subsequently named interim commissioner. On October 26 MacLoed was named the conference's third official commissioner, also becoming the first woman to head an FBS conference.
- Michael Slive 1995–2002
- Britton Banowsky 2002–2015
- Judy MacLeod 2015–present
|Swimming & Diving||–||7|
|Track and Field (Indoor)||10||13|
|Track and Field (Outdoor)||10||13|
Men's sponsored sports by school
- # = Affiliate members for men's soccer– Kentucky, New Mexico, and South Carolina.
- * = UAB discontinued their football program after the 2014 season and will add men's Cross Country in 2015 in order to maintain Division I membership. The school later reversed its decision to drop football, announcing that it would reinstate the sport effective with the 2017 season.
Men's varsity sports not sponsored by Conference USA which are played by current full C-USA members:
- Sailing is a coeducational team sport. It is not sanctioned by the NCAA, but instead by the Intercollegiate Sailing Association.
- Middle Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association
Women's sponsored sports by school
- Rice fields a women's team in swimming but not in diving.
- Western Kentucky announced on April 14, 2015 that it would suspend its men's and women's swimming & diving teams for at least 5 years (only the women's team competed in C-USA). This followed a police investigation into claims of assault and hazing by a former men's team member which in turn found multiple violations of university policies on harassment and sexual misconduct.
- Women's Golf will be added to the Charlotte sports lineup for the 2017–18 school year.
Women's varsity sports not sponsored by Conference USA which are played by current full C-USA members:
|School||Beach volleyball||Bowling||Field hockey||Lacrosse||Rifle||Rowing||Sailing|
|Old Dominion||No||No||Big East||A-Sun||No||Big 12||MAISA|
- Rifle is technically classified as a men's sport by the NCAA, but allows competitors of both sexes, and also allows schools to field any combination of coed and single-sex teams. UTEP fields a women-only team, and UAB has reinstated its women-only team on June 1, 2015. Initially, the team was to compete in 2016 after a one-year hiatus, but UAB later announced on July 21, 2015 that the team would immediately return.
- Sailing is a coeducational team sport. It is not sanctioned by the NCAA, but instead by the Intercollegiate Sailing Association.
- Middle Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association
- UAB reinstated its bowling and rifle teams on June 1, 2015. The rifle team will compete in the 2015–16 school year, and the bowling team will return in 2016 after a one-year hiatus. Both teams were dropped after the 2014–15 school year.
Conference USA uses a divisional format only for football.
- For the current season, see 2016 Conference USA football season.
|Florida Atlantic||2001||70–98||.417||2||2–0||1||Charlie Partridge|
|Middle Tennessee||1911||551–410–28||.571||6||2–4||20||Rick Stockstill|
|Old Dominion||1930||94–56–4||.623||0||0–0||0||Bobby Wilder|
|Western Kentucky||1908||540–380–32||.584||4||3–1||11||Jeff Brohm|
|Louisiana Tech||1901||586–442–39||.567||7||3–3–1||25||Skip Holtz|
|North Texas||1913||493–478–35||.507||7||2–5||24||Seth Littrell|
|Southern Miss||1912||564–405–27||.580||22||10–12||8||Jay Hopson|
|UAB||1991, 2017||118–154–2||.434||1||0–1||0||Bill Clark|
The highest-ranked champion from the so-called "Group of Five" conferences (The American, C-USA, MAC, Mountain West, and Sun Belt) is guaranteed a berth in one of the non-semifinal bowls of the College Football Playoff if the group's top team is not in the playoff.
|Cotton Bowl Classic||Arlington, Texas||AT&T Stadium||at-large|
|Fiesta Bowl||Glendale, Arizona||University of Phoenix Stadium||at-large|
|Peach Bowl||Atlanta, Georgia||Georgia Dome||at-large|
For the 2015–19 seasons, Conference USA is guaranteed at least five of the following bowl games.
Football rivalries involving C-USA teams include:
|Teams||Rivalry Name||Trophy||Meetings||Record||Series Leader||Current Streak|
|FIU||Florida Atlantic||Shula Bowl||Don Shula Award||15||5–10||Florida Atlantic||FIU won 1|
|Louisiana Tech||Southern Miss||Rivalry in Dixie||—||46||15–31||Southern Miss||Louisiana Tech won 2|
|Marshall||East Carolina||East Carolina–Marshall football rivalry||—||15||10–5||East Carolina||Marshall won 1|
|Marshall||Ohio||Battle for the Bell||The Bell||56||20–30–6||Ohio||Marshall won 1|
|Marshall||West Virginia||Friends of Coal Bowl||Governor's Trophy||12||0–12||West Virginia||West Virginia won 12|
|Middle Tennessee||Troy||Battle for the Palladium||Palladium||20||12–8||Middle Tennessee||Middle Tennessee won 1|
|Middle Tennessee||Western Kentucky||100 Miles of Hate||—||65||34–30–1||Middle Tennessee||WKU won 1|
|Western Kentucky||Marshall||Moonshine Throwdown||—||7||3-4||Marshall||WKU won 2|
|North Texas||SMU||Safeway Bowl||—||34||28–5–1||SMU||North Texas won 1|
|Rice||Houston||Bayou Bucket Classic||—||40||11–29||Houston||Houston won 3|
|Rice||SMU||Battle for the Mayor's Cup||Mayor's Cup||89||40–48–1||SMU||Rice won 1|
|Southern Miss||Memphis||Black and Blue Bowl||—||63||40–22–1||Southern Miss||Memphis won 1|
|Southern Miss||Tulane||Battle for the Bell||The Bell||30||23–7||Southern Miss||Southern Miss won 6|
|UTEP||New Mexico State||The Battle of I-10|| Silver Spade|
Mayor's Cup (Brass Spittoon)
|89||52–35–2||UTEP||UTEP won 3|
|UTSA||Texas State||I-35 Rivalry||—||1||1–0||UTSA||UTSA won 1|
For the current season, see 2015–16 Conference USA men's basketball season.
| NCAA Tournament
| NCAA Tournament
|UAB||1979||537–495||.520||2||2–2||Bartow Arena||Randy Norton|
|Charlotte||1976||537–398||.574||2||0–2||Dale F. Halton Arena||Cara Consuegra|
|Florida Atlantic||1985||387–419||.480||1||0–1||FAU Arena||Kellie Lewis-Jay|
|Louisiana Tech||1975||1031–244||.809||27||65–25||Thomas Assembly Center||Brooke Stoehr|
|Marshall||1970||591–597||.497||1||0–1||Cam Henderson Center||Matt Daniel|
|Middle Tennessee||1976||764–361||.679||16||5–16||Murphy Center||Rick Insell|
|North Texas||1977||434–602||.419||1||0–1||UNT Coliseum||Jalie Mitchell|
|Old Dominion||1970||959–358||.728||25||34–24||Ted Constant Convocation Center||Karen Barefoot|
|Rice||1979||511–503||.504||2||1–2||Tudor Fieldhouse||Tina Langley|
|Southern Miss||1976||618–476||.565||8||4–8||Reed Green Coliseum||Joye Lee-McNelis|
|UTEP||1975||461–579||.443||2||1–2||Don Haskins Center||Keitha Adams|
|UTSA||1982||453–449||.502||2||0–2||Convocation Center||Lubomyr Lichonczak|
|Western Kentucky||1914||848–440||.658||16||17–16||E. A. Diddle Arena||Michelle Clark-Heard|
Current C-USA champions
No team has won an NCAA team championship as a member of C-USA.
However, the following C-USA teams have won national championships when they were not affiliated with C-USA:
|FIU||2||Men's Soccer (Division II)||1982, 1984|
|Louisiana Tech||5||Football (Division II)||1972, 1973|
|Women's basketball||1981, 1982, 1988|
|Marshall||2||Football (Division I-AA)||1992, 1996|
|North Texas||4||Men's golf||1949, 1950, 1951, 1952|
|Old Dominion||10||Women's basketball||1985|
|Women's field hockey||1982, 1983, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1998, 2000|
|Southern Miss||2||Football (Division II)||1958, 1962|
|Men's outdoor track and field||1975, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982|
|Men's indoor track and field||1974, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982|
|Men's cross country||1969, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981|
|Western Kentucky||1||Football (Division I-AA)||2002|
In 2016, C-USA began a long-term television contract with lead partners ESPN and CBS Sports Network, with ESPN carrying 5 football games and the football championship game; and CBSSN carrying 6 football games, 5 basketball games, and both the men's and women's basketball championship games. C-USA also renewed and expanded its partnership with American Sports Network; owned and operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group, ASN will carry between 15 and 30 football games; between 13 and 55 men's basketball games; and between 2 and 5 women's basketball games. ASN will also carry 10 events in other CUSA sports. The conference also entered into a contract with beIN Sports for 10 football games (marking the first domestic American football rights the network has ever acquired, and the first broadcast rights deal it had ever entered into with a college conference), 10 men's and 10 women's basketball games, 12 baseball and 12 softball games, 10 men's and 10 women's soccer games (excluding conference men's soccer games at Kentucky and South Carolina, covered by their primary conference's contract), and 10 women's volleyball games.
The total values of the 2016 contracts are notably lower than those of the previous contracts (which included Fox Sports).
Men's soccer associate members Kentucky and South Carolina have an agreement with their primary conference for other sports to carry all home matches online through the SEC Network service, including all Conference USA conference matches. ESPN and the SEC Network will have first rights to all C-USA home men's soccer matches featuring both schools.
One of the current member schools, Rice University is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada. Rice and UAB are doctorate-granting universities with "very high research activity," the highest classification given by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Rice, UAB, Louisiana Tech, and Charlotte are ranked as Tier One National Universities in U.S. News and World Report's 2016 Best Colleges rankings.
|University of Alabama at Birmingham||Public (UA System)||Research (Very High)||N/A||149 (National)||518|
|Florida Atlantic University||Public (SUSF)||Research (High)||$270,933,875||RNP (National)||536|
|Florida International University||Public (SUSF)||Research (High)||$230,954,000||RNP (National)||487|
|Louisiana Tech University||Public (UL System)||Research (High)||N/A||199 (National)||389|
|Marshall University||Public||Master's (Larger)||$114,742,403||45 (Regional: South)||N/A|
|Middle Tennessee State University||Public (TBR)||Doctoral/Research||$75,710,000||RNP (National)||635|
|University of North Carolina at Charlotte||Public (UNC System)||Doctoral/Research||$166,591,692||194 (National)||495|
|University of North Texas||Public (UNT System)||Research (High)||$131,749,714||RNP (National)||570|
|Old Dominion University||Public||Research (High)||$193,997,191||RNP (National)||551|
|Rice University||Private||Research (Very High)||$4,836,728,000||18 (National)||32|
|University of Southern Mississippi||Public||Research (High)||$68,863,000||RNP (National)||575|
|University of Texas at El Paso||Public (UT System)||Research (High)||N/A||RNP (National)||491|
|University of Texas at San Antonio||Public (UT System)||Research (High)||N/A||RNP (National)||642|
|Western Kentucky University||Public||Master's (Larger)||$118,396,000||31 (Regional: South)||584|
- UAB, Louisiana Tech, UTEP, and UTSA did not participate in the 2013 NACUBO Endowment Study.
- In the 2016 US News national university rankings, Florida Atlantic, FIU, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Old Dominion, Southern Miss, UTEP, and UTSA are listed as Rank Not Published (RNP), otherwise known as Tier Two.
- Marshall is not ranked in the 2015 Forbes America's Best 650 Colleges rankings.
- WITH EYE ON BIG EAST, TECH JOINS ATLANTIC 10 HOKIES REJECT THE COLONIAL, WHICH GRABS VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH
- "UAB To Resume Rifle This Year, Bowling Next And Football In 2017" (Press release). UAB Athletics. July 21, 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-08-16. Retrieved 2007-05-19.
- "Preliminary Headcount Enrollment Summary". Louisiana Board of Regents. September 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-19.
- "MTSU tops in Tennessee Board of Regents enrollment". September 16, 2014. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
- "Fall 2013 vs Fall 2014 Census Day Report". Utsa.edu. Retrieved 2014-10-27.
- McMurphy, Brett (April 17, 2012). "Conference Mountain West merger "unlikely"". College Football Insider. CBSSports.com. Retrieved April 21, 2012.
- Western Kentucky announces move
- Tulsa set to join league for 2014–15 season
- Scarborough, Alex (June 1, 2015). "UAB reinstates football for 2016". ESPN.com. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
- "C-USA's MacLeod is 1st female commissioner of FBS league". AP-sports. October 26, 2015. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
- "Western Kentucky Suspends Swimming and Diving Program for 5 Years" (Press release). Western Kentucky Athletics. April 14, 2015. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
- "Women's Golf Added as 18th Sport; Holly Clark Named as Head Coach". University of North Carolina at Charlotte Department of Athletics. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
- All time Division I-A football records, College Football Data Warehouse
- Brett McMurphy (November 13, 2013). "Six bowls in playoff format". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
- "2013–14 NCAA Men's Basketball Records" (PDF). NCAA. Retrieved 18 March 2014.
- "NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Records Through 2012–13" (PDF). NCAA. Retrieved 18 March 2014.
- "What Conference USA's new TV deal may tell us about conference expansion". Vanquish the Foe (SBNation). Retrieved 5 June 2016.
- "Comprehensive Television Packages Announced For Conference USA". Conference USA. Retrieved 5 June 2016.
- "Getting to know new C-USA TV partner beIN Sports". The Daily News Journal. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
- "AAU Member Institutions and Years of Admission". Association of American Universities. Retrieved 2014-06-06.
- "Carnegie Classifications Institution Lookup". Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. 2013. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
- "National Association of College and University Business Officers" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business. 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-05-19. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
- "Best College Rankings and Lists". U.S. News & World Report. 2015. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
- "Forbes America's Top Colleges 2015". Forbes. 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-21.