Conference USA

Conference USA
Conference USA
Conference USA logo
Established 1995
Association NCAA
Division Division I FBS
Members 12 full-time; 3 part-time
Sports fielded 21[1] (men's: 10; women's: 11)
Region Southern United States
Headquarters Irving, Texas
Commissioner Britton Banowsky (since 2002)
Conference USA locations

Conference USA, officially abbreviated C-USA, is a college 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[2]) 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.

In 2011 Conference USA & the Mountain West announced a football only alliance forming a 22 team league. [3]


Sports sponsored

Members participate in baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, football, men's and women's golf, rowing (women's), men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and field, and volleyball.

In men's soccer, only six of the member schools participate – Marshall, Memphis, Southern Methodist, Tulsa, UAB, and UCF. For this sport, the conference makeup consists of three other schools from other conferences – Florida International from the Sun Belt Conference and the only two Southeastern Conference schools which sponsor the sport – South Carolina (which rejoined C-USA for the sport; it had been part of the Metro (the reunification of the Metro and Great Midwest in 1995 led to C-USA) in 1983-90 and 1993-94 for the sport) and Kentucky (which joined with its SEC mate in 2005).

Colorado College, normally an NCAA Division III school in all sports except men's ice hockey, competes in women's soccer as a Division I school in C-USA.

Member schools

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 USF) and two non-football schools (DePaul and Marquette). Another two schools (Charlotte and Saint Louis) left for the Atlantic 10; TCU joined the Mountain West; 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.

Notably, C-USA's membership includes the largest university campus in the United States by undergraduate enrollment in UCF, and the two smallest schools in Division I FBS by undergraduate enrollment in Tulsa and Rice.

Institution Nickname Location Founded Type Total
Joined Endowment
East Division
University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Blazers Birmingham, Alabama 1969 Public 18,000 11,681 1995 $332 million
University of Central Florida (UCF) Knights Orlando, Florida 1963 Public 50,000 45,398 2005 $114 million
East Carolina University (ECU) Pirates Greenville, North Carolina 1907 Public 27,000 20,974 1997 (football)
2001 (all other sports)
$103 million
Marshall University Thundering Herd Huntington, West Virginia 1837 Public 15,500 9,314 2005 $70 million
University of Memphis Tigers Memphis, Tennessee 1912 Public 21,400 16,719 1995 $183 million
University of Southern Mississippi (USM) Golden Eagles Hattiesburg, Mississippi 1910 Public 17,254 14,096 1995 $89 million
West Division
University of Houston Cougars Houston, Texas 1927 Public 39,820 31,764 1995 ** $622 million
Rice University Owls Houston, Texas 1891 (opened 1912) Private 6,700 3,237 2005 $3.6 billion
Southern Methodist University (SMU) Mustangs University Park, Texas (Dallas) 1911 Private 10,600 6,000 2005 $1.37 billion
University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) Miners El Paso, Texas 1914 Public 20,500 17,261 2005 $151 million
Tulane University Green Wave New Orleans, Louisiana 1834 Private 11,100 6,749 1995 $807 million
University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane Tulsa, Oklahoma 1894 Private 4,170 2,987 2005 $915 million
Locations of current Conference USA full member institutions.

** – Houston was a founding member of C-USA in 1995, but did not begin competing until 1996 because of its commitments to the final year of competition of the Southwest Conference.

Former members

Membership timeline

University of Tulsa University of Texas at El Paso Southern Methodist University Rice University Marshall University University of Central Florida Texas Christian University United States Military Academy East Carolina University University of Houston Tulane University University of Southern Mississippi University of Memphis University of Alabama at Birmingham University of South Florida Saint Louis University University of North Carolina at Charlotte Marquette University University of Louisville DePaul University University of Cincinnati

Football divisions



Soccer-only members

Because men's soccer is not sponsored by all NCAA Division I conferences, three schools from other conferences are C-USA members for men's soccer only:

Sun Belt Conference Members

Southeastern Conference Members

NOTE: South Carolina had remained in the Metro for men's soccer shortly after departing the conference for the SEC in 1991, and left after the 1994-95 season when they were not permitted to join the reunified Conference USA for the sport only. The school was invited to rejoin the reunified conference in 2005, after which fellow SEC member Kentucky, the only other school that sponsors the sport, left the Mid-American Conference in that sport.

Additionally there is one women's soccer only member: Colorado College, which sponsors women's soccer and men's ice hockey as Division 1 sports and participates in the Division 3 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference in all other sports.

Rowing-only members

Because rowing is not sponsored by all NCAA Division I conferences, two schools from the Southeastern Conference are C-USA members for rowing only[4][5]:

Southeastern Conference Members:



In 2005, C-USA began a long-term television contract with CBS College Sports Network (then known as CSTV) to carry a variety of sports. The deal largely replaced the one it had with ESPN and ESPN Plus, though some C-USA football and men's basketball games are still carried by the ESPN networks. The college basketball men's championship game can be seen on CBS Sports. Beginning in 2011-12, CBS College Sports will be joined by FSN for football and select men's & women's basketball games. Some games, including the C-USA Football Championship game may be moved to Fox or FX.

Conference facilities

School Football stadium Capacity Basketball arena Capacity Baseball stadium Capacity Soccer stadium Capacity
East Division
UAB Legion Field 71,594 Bartow Arena 8,508 Jerry D. Young Memorial Field 1,000 West Campus Field 2,500
UCF Bright House Networks Stadium 45,301 UCF Arena 10,045 Jay Bergman Field 1,980 UCF Track and Soccer Complex 2,000
East Carolina Dowdy–Ficklen Stadium 50,000 Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum 8,000 Clark-LeClair Stadium 5,000 Bunting Field >3,000
Marshall Joan C. Edwards Stadium 38,019 Cam Henderson Center 9,048 Appalachian Power Park/Kennedy Center Field 4,500/100 Sam Hood Field 1,500
Memphis Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium 62,380 FedExForum (men)
Elma Roane Fieldhouse (women)
FedExPark 2,000 Mike Rose Stadium 2,500
Southern Miss M. M. Roberts Stadium 40,000 Reed Green Coliseum 8,095 Pete Taylor Park 3,678 USM Track & Soccer Complex 1,000
West Division
Houston Robertson Stadium 32,000 Hofheinz Pavilion 8,500 Cougar Field 5,000 Robertson Stadium 32,000
Rice Rice Stadium 47,000 Tudor Fieldhouse 5,208 Reckling Park 5,000 Rice Track/Soccer Stadium 5,000
SMU Gerald J. Ford Stadium 32,000 Moody Coliseum 8,998 No baseball team Westcott Field 4,000
UTEP Sun Bowl Stadium 51,500 Don Haskins Center 12,222 No baseball team University Field 500
Tulane Mercedes-Benz Superdome 76,468 Avron B. Fogelman Arena 3,600 Greer Field at Turchin Stadium 5,000 Westfeldt Facility 1,500
Tulsa H. A. Chapman Stadium 30,000 Reynolds Center 8,355 No baseball team Hurricane Soccer & Track Stadium 2,000
School Soccer stadium Capacity
Soccer-Only Members
Colorado College Stewart Field n/a
FIU University Park, Florida 2,000
Kentucky UK Soccer Complex 1,500
South Carolina Eugene E. Stone III Stadium 5,700


Football bowl games

Conference USA sends teams to seven different bowl games throughout the country.

From 2011 to 2013, Conference USA will send teams to the following bowls.



External links

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