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UTSA to CUSA?
U. T. San Antonio: Authorization to accept invitation from Conference USA and to negotiate and finalize terms for athletic conference membership, including possible future membership in a new athletic conference
The Chancellor concurs in the recommendation of the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs ad interim, the Vice Chancellor and General Counsel, and President Romo that authorization be granted to The University of Texas at San Antonio to accept an invitation from Conference USA (CUSA) to become a member, and to negotiate and finalize terms for athletic conference membership. Approval of U. T. San Antonio's entrance in CUSA also includes approval of admittance to the potential new conference.
On December 18, 2008, the U. T. System Board of Regents approved the U. T. San Antonio Athletic Initiative Business Plan. The Plan provided for 1) development of a Competitive Athletic Complex, 2) addition of a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) football program, and 3) advancement of the intercollegiate sports programs to position the University for an invitation to an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) conference.
On July 26, 2011, U. T. San Antonio accepted an invitation to join the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), an FBS conference. U. T. San Antonio is not scheduled to officially join the WAC until July 1, 2012. However, since U. T. San Antonio accepted the invitation to join, three member institutions have declared their intent to leave. As a result, the WAC will have only four remaining institutions that participate in FBS football.
Officials at CUSA contacted U. T. San Antonio in March 2012 to initiate a discussion about the possibility of U. T. San Antonio leaving the WAC to join CUSA. President Romo, Athletic Director Lynn Hickey, Head Football Coach Larry Coker, and several prominent community supporters visited with CUSA Commissioner Britton Banowsky on April 5, 2012, and discussed U. T. San Antonio's position regarding joining CUSA.
There is a possibility that CUSA members, including U. T. El Paso, will become members of a new athletic conference resulting from some form of consolidation between the CUSA and Mountain West Conference (MWC) institutions.
The current plan is that two conferences, CUSA and the MWC, will merge and form a conference ultimately expected to include 18 to 24 members. The 12 current members of the CUSA are: U. T. El Paso, Tulane University, University of Alabama Birmingham, University of East Carolina, Marshall University, Rice University, University of Southern Mississippi, University of Memphis, University of Tulsa, Southern Methodist University, University of
Houston, and University of Central Florida. Eight of these universities will be joining the new athletic conference. The four universities that are not joining the new athletic conference are the University of Memphis, Southern Methodist University, the University of Houston, and the University of Central Florida. Teams joining the new athletic conference from the MWC are: University of Nevada Las Vegas, University of New Mexico, Colorado State University, Air Meeting of the U. T. System Board of Regents - Academic Affairs Committee
Force Academy, and University of Wyoming. The following three universities that were planning on joining the MWC this year are also joining the new athletic conference: Fresno State, University of Nevada-Reno, and University of Hawaii (football only).
Joining CUSA (and potentially the new athletic conference) will provide greater national visibility and association with universities of similar enrollment, academic standing, and community size. U. T. San Antonio has determined that a move to this new conference is consistent with the University's strategic plan to increase its national prominence in support of its goal to become a national research university. Competing in the new conference would leverage U. T. San Antonio's efforts to upgrade the competitiveness of all 17 sports teams, particularly in football and men's and women's basketball.
There are no exit fees involved with U. T. San Antonio's departure from the WAC. The initiation fee payable to CUSA is $2,000,000, and will be covered through a combination of Athletic Department funds and conference revenues payable to U. T. San Antonio pursuant to the new member agreement. U. T. San Antonio reports that revenues generated by CUSA (and potentially the new athletic conference) from television and the NCAA are likely to be significantly greater than those earned by the WAC.
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