MTSU Athletics to Stay in Conference USA

Nov 10, 2021 at 11:20 am by WGNS

By Monte Hale, Jr.

MTSU athletics will remain in Conference USA despite recent reports it would join Western Kentucky in moving to the Mid American Conference.


University President Dr. Sidney McPhee sent out a campus-wide email Wednesday morning affirming the Blue Raiders would remain in Conference USA, which has lost 11 of its 14 members to the AAC and Sun Belt Conference.

"Over the past several weeks, as we have watched the landscape for Division I athletics evolve, MTSU has been proactive and diligent in evaluating our opportunities, always with the best interests of the University as the singular guiding principle," McPhee said in a statement. "We greatly appreciate the interest other conferences have shown in our athletics program and in our university, as they are a testament to the overall excellence of our institution, both athletically and academically. However, after careful consideration and due diligence, I am pleased to reaffirm our commitment to Conference USA."

Among those still left in the Conference USA are FIU, Louisiana Tech and UTEP, MTSU and Western Kentucky. Conference USA on Friday extended invitations to Liberty, Sam Houston State, Jacksonville State and New Mexico State.

If Western Kentucky remains in Conference USA, the league will have the NCAA mandated eight programs to remain FBS in football. If not, it will have to add another school.

Conference USA Commissioner Judy MacLeod said last week that several schools have contacted the league regarding possible affiliation.

"With the addition of four new members, C-USA offers a strong footprint in the South and Southwest, providing opportunities to develop new regional rivalries, while staying connected to traditional opponents that our fans want," McPhee added in the statement. "Building on the conference's storied history of success, I believe our continued affiliation offers our Blue Raider community the greatest opportunity for success and should enhance our fan engagement.

"Working with our four remaining members, as well as our new partners, Conference USA is poised to rebrand itself as a premier conference in the Group of 5. We look forward to the opportunities that our expanded relationship will provide and want to assure our fans that, regardless of conference affiliations, our goals remain the same, as we pursue championships in all our sports."

MTSU was in the Sun Belt Conference from 2001-2012 before joining Conference USA in 2013.

Conference USA members Marshall, Old Dominion and Southern Miss will be joining the Sun Belt along with James Madison, which is moving up from the FCS ranks.

The AAC will add Conference USA members FAU, Charlotte, UAB, North Texas, UTSA and Rice.

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