Florida Atlantic running back Kelvin Dean Jr. (21) looks for room to get around Florida linebacker Ventrell Miller (51) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Conference USA Looking to Survive

Conference USA is looking to survive and stay afloat amidst the struggle of teams leaving the conference.

The History

Conference USA was formed in 1995 and since then has been one of the nation’s top conferences. It unveiled its logo, name and commissioner on April 24, 1995, in Chicago and nine years later they relocated to Dallas Texas.

The leagues first commissioner was Mike Slive and later on Britton Banowsky took over in October of 2002. In October 2015, the league switched commissioners and Judy MacLeod became the leagues third commissioner and is still the present commissioner.

Current Members in the Conference

Charlotte 49ers, Florida International University Golden Panthers, Florida Atlantic University, Louisiana Tech University, Marshall University,  Middle Tennessee, Mean Green, Old Dominion Monarchs, Rice Owls, Southern Miss Golden Eagles, UAB Blazers, UTEP Miners, UTSA, and Western Kentucky University.

Looking at the Issues

As the league faces teams leaving they look to find a way to stay afloat. Conference USA is losing six members to the American Athletic Conference. Including Alabama-Birmingham, Texas-San Antonio, Rice North Texas, Charlotte and Florida Atlantic.

Per SI Conference USA is likely to add four new members. Including Liberty, New Mexico State, Jacksonville State and Sam Houston State are all likely to join.

The league is looking to stay apart of the FBA and welcome new members. In the NCAA, the manual gives a grace period of two years to retain FBS membership if it falls below the eight members.

In addition, this conversation has been ongoing since the beginning of the year.

Commissioner MacLeod said several institutions have interest to join the conference, per Deseret News. Conference USA will take the time necessary to add future members that will be the best fit from an athletic and academic standpoint.

In conclusion every step they take will be deliberate, strategically sound and intentional.

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