Conference USA, officially abbreviated C-USA, is a group of college sports teams that play each other on the NCAA Division I level. It was formed in 1995 when the Great Midwest Conference and Metro Conference merged, and has added several members since then. Most of the new members have come from either the Western Athletic Conference or the Sun Belt Conference. From 2005 to 2014, it also lost many members, mostly to the original Big East Conference and its football-playing offshoot, the American Athletic Conference.
The conference sends several teams to bowl games every year, including the Liberty Bowl and New Orleans Bowl.
Memphis (now a member of The American) has been the most successful men's basketball team in the conference, reaching the national championship game in 2008. (However, the NCAA later took Memphis's wins from that season away because a Memphis player, namely Derrick Rose, had not been eligible to play.)
Conference USA now has 14 "full members" which play most of their sports in the league; all except Rice are public schools. Also, 13 of the 14 schools play football in the top-level Division I FBS. The one non-football member, Charlotte, only started playing football in 2013, and will join the C-USA football league in 2015.
In football only, the schools are split into East and West Divisions. This allows the division winners to play a conference championship game.
- Charlotte left in 2005 for the Atlantic 10 Conference and came back in 2013.
- FIU was a member in men's soccer only from 2005 to 2013.
- Old Dominion was a member in five sports in the 2012–13 school year: men's and women's golf, women's rowing, and men's and women's tennis.
- WKU was a member in women's swimming and diving only in the 2013–14 school year.
C-ISA now has three "associate members", all of which play men's soccer in the conference.
|University of Kentucky||Lexington, Kentucky||1865||Public||Wildcats||Men's soccer||2005||SEC|
|University of New Mexico||Albuquerque, New Mexico||1889||Public||Lobos||Men's soccer||2013||Mountain West|
|University of South Carolina||Columbia, South Carolina||1801||Public||Gamecocks||Men's soccer||2005||SEC|
Former full membersEdit
No fewer than 14 schools have left C-USA since it was founded. Most of these schools are now members of the American Athletic Conference.
- Before joining C-USA, East Carolina had been a football-only member since 1997.
- Houston was a founding member of C-USA in 1995, but did not start play until 1996. It was committed to playing in the final season of its old league, the Southwest Conference.
Former associate membersEdit
In addition to the former full members, 14 other schools have been associate members in the past, but have moved their C-USA sports elsewhere. Most notably, the United States Military Academy, more often called "Army" in a sports context, was a football member from 1996 to 2005 (final C-USA season in 2004).
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- Garci, Marlen (August 19, 2009). "NCAA vacates Memphis' '07–08 season record, Final Four run". USA Today. Gannett Company, Inc. Retrieved May 4, 2012.