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Houston (CBS Houston) – Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference have made it official and are set to merge beginning with the 2013-2014 seasons. The official announcement came on Monday, February 13. The name of the new conference has not yet been disclosed.
The 16 schools involved with the planned merger will compete in all sports. However, Hawaii will be the single football-only institution. Their other sports will continue playing in the WAC.
Rice, UTEP, East Carolina, Marshall, Tulsa, Southern Miss, Tulane and UAB will join from C-USA. Air Force, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, UNLV, New Mexico and Wyoming will merge with C-USA from the Mountain West.
Rice Athletic Director Rick Greenspan talks about the new intercollegiate athletic association which will begin next season.
“The decision by Conference USA and the Mountain West to merge into a new entity is the dawning of an exciting new chapter for Rice Athletics. This new conference is one that allows us to retain much of the competitive equity and familiarity we have built up over our seven years in C-USA while also broadening our appeal to an even wider audience.”
“It will address many of the core concerns that have led others to seek new affiliations and does so without a significant increase in the demands we place on our student-athletes. Much remains to be determined in terms of the final configuration of our new affiliation, but I am convinced that the move today is a significant step forward in the future of Rice Athletics.”