About Conference USA
Conference USA officially gets a new look July 1, 2013, while maintaining the same commitment to excellence, integrity and leadership in athletics, academics and in our communities.
Eight institutions, including the return of charter member Charlotte along with FIU, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Old Dominion and UTSA, will join with East Carolina, Marshall, Rice, Southern Miss, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB and UTEP.
From its beginning in 1995, Conference USA’s dedication to excellence has been the league’s guiding principle and remains a common thread today and for a promising future. Throughout the changes during the C-USA history, the conference has held onto its strong foundation that reflects the league’s national presence. These 16 schools have compiled numerous athletic and academic achievements. Additionally, the C-USA footprint will grow by nearly 20 percent, while providing the geography that allows for a divisional scheduling model that will be beneficial to the student-athletes, fan-friendly and cost effective.
Conference USA sponsors competition in 20 sports – nine for men (baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis and indoor and outdoor track and field) and 11 for women (basketball, cross country, golf, rowing, softball, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field and volleyball).
The league sponsors numerous academic awards, including the Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the Commissioner’s Academic Medal, indicative of outstanding achievement in the classroom, in addition to sport specific All-Academic teams.
C-USA annually awards 12 postgraduate scholarships, along with the Sport Academic Award, Scholar Athletes of the Year and the Institutional Academic Excellence Award. Conference USA also added a Spirit of Service Award, recognizing student-athletes three times a year for a combination of significant community service efforts, good academic standing and participation in their elected sport.
SUCCESS ON THE PLAYING FIELD
Conference USA performers have achieved great success in competition, placing the league among the top conferences in the nation.
- 72 teams have earned bowl bids
- Member of the Bowl Championship Series
- Bowl tie-ins with the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl, Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, Heart of Dallas Bowl, Military Bowl, R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl and Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl
SUCCESS OFF THE FIELD
C-USA institutions are among the nation’s best in academic performance among student-athletes, bolstered by the fact that student-athletes at league schools have a higher graduation rate than the general student population. Among C-USA’s 5,000 student-athletes, there are champions off the playing field as well. In 18 years, 176 student-athletes earned national Capital One Academic All-America honors, while 618 were named All-District. In addition, more than 26,000 student-athletes have been named to the Commissioner’s Honor Roll or received the Commissioner’s Academic Medal, indicative of outstanding achievement in the classroom.
C-USA ON TV
C-USA enjoys significant television exposure through partnerships with FOX Sports Media Group, CBS Sports Network and ESPN. The multi-tiered selection process that is rooted in partnering with all three networks has substantially increased the number of national and regional appearances for football, men’s and women’s basketball, and all other conference sports.
As one the largest FBS conferences in 2013, C-USA membership will include institutions in 12 of the Top 65 television markets, eight in the Top 40 and four in the Top 25 media markets according to Nielson. C-USA home markets next year will include more than 14.5 million TV households, a 43 percent increase from a year ago.
C-USA DIGITAL NETWORK
The C-USA Digital Network officially launched in August of 2011. Network programming includes live streaming of non-televised events, video on demand, a weekly C-USA studio show, podcasting, regular-season and championship event highlights and conference-produced feature stories. In its first year, 1,164 events were streamed live and 8,126 videos were posted and available on the C-USA Digital Network, and that number just keeps growing. Monthly and yearly subscriptions offer fans access to events offered on all of the C-USA member institution’s athletic websites as well as C-USA network programming.
C-USA IN THE COMMUNITY
The conference’s current footprint is concentrated with 16 members in nine states and a combined area population of nearly 17 million. With a commitment to community involvement, the conference developed several initiatives to maintain strong ties in C-USA cities, as well as with fans and alumni across the country. C-USA schools also place a priority on giving back to their communities through volunteer service with local and national organizations. Individually, student-athletes are recognized each season through the Spirit of Service award.
Conference USA has significant representation in the NCAA governance structure. The Presidents of the member institutions serve as the league’s Board of Directors.
A PROUD HISTORY
Conference USA was formed in 1995 and quickly emerged as one of the nation’s top conferences. The conference unveiled its name, logo and commissioner April 24, 1995 in Chicago. The league’s charter members included Charlotte, Cincinnati, DePaul, Houston, Louisville, Marquette, Memphis, Saint Louis, Southern Miss, Tulane, UAB and USF. Eleven of the institutions began athletic participation in 1995, while Houston joined competition in the fall of 1996.
The league’s headquarters were established in Chicago and, after nine years, relocated to the current office in Irving, Texas. Britton Banowsky was named Commissioner in October 2002, succeeding Mike Slive, the league’s first commissioner.
C-USA added East Carolina (September, 1996) and the United States Military Academy (March, 1997) as football members. ECU began league competition in 1997; Army in 1998 and UAB began football play in 1999. The league added TCU and ECU (1999) for all sports and they began competition in 2001. USF started C-USA football in 2003. Marshall, Rice, SMU, Tulsa, UCF and UTEP became full-time members of Conference USA in 2005.
Updated: June 19, 2013