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Conference USA, officially abbreviated C-USA, is a college athletic conference whose member institutions are located within the Southern United States. The conference participates in the NCAA's Division I in all sports. C-USA's offices are located in the Las Colinasmarker business district of the Dallasmarker suburb of Irving, Texasmarker.

C-USA was founded in 1995 by the merger of the Metro Conference and Great Midwest Conference, two Division I conferences that did not sponsor football. To even out at 12 members (because Daytonmarker, VCUmarker, and Virginia Techmarker were left out of the merger) the conference invited the University of Houstonmarker, but UH could not start C-USA play for a year due to committing to being in the Southwest Conference in its final year. The conference immediately started competition in all sports, except football which started in 1996.

Sports sponsored

Members participate in football, men's and women's basketball, volleyball, baseball, cross country, golf, men's and women's soccer, softball, women's swimming, tennis, and track and field.

In men's soccer, only six of the member schools participate – Marshall, Memphis, Southern Methodist, Tulsa, UAB, and UCF. For this sport, the conference makeup consists of three other schools from other conferences – Florida Internationalmarker from the Sun Belt Conference and the only two Southeastern Conference schools which sponsor the sport – South Carolinamarker (which rejoined C-USA for the sport; it had been part of the Metro in 1983-90 and 1993-94 for the sport) and Kentuckymarker (which joined with its SEC mate in 2005).

Colorado College, normally an NCAA Division III school, competes in women's soccer as a Division I school in C-USA.

Member schools

The conference saw radical changes for the 2005–06 academic year. The stage for these changes was set in 2003, when the Atlantic Coast Conference successfully lured Miamimarker and Virginia Techmarker to make a move from the Big East Conference in 2004. Boston Collegemarker would later make the same move, joining the ACC in 2005. In response to that series of moves, which depleted the Big East football conference, the Big East looked to Conference USA to attract replacements. Five C-USA members departed for the Big East, including three football-playing schools (Cincinnatimarker, Louisvillemarker, and USFmarker) and two non-football schools (DePaulmarker and Marquettemarker). Another two schools (Charlottemarker and Saint Louismarker) left for the Atlantic 10; TCUmarker joined the Mountain West; and a ninth member, Armymarker, which was C-USA football-only, opted to become an independent in that sport again.

With the loss of these teams, C-USA lured six teams from other conferences: UCFmarker and Marshallmarker from the MAC, as well as Rice, SMUmarker, Tulsamarker, and later UTEPmarker from the WAC. Note that UCF played in the MAC for football only; for all other sports, it was a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference.

With C-USA's membership now consisting of 12 schools, all of which sponsor football, the conference has adopted a two-division alignment.

Notably, C-USA's membership includes the largest university campus in the United States by undergraduate enrollment in UCF, and the two smallest schools in Division I FBS by undergraduate enrollment in Tulsa and Rice.

Institution Nickname Location Founded Affiliation Undergraduate
Joined Endowment
West Division
University of Houstonmarker Cougars Houston, Texasmarker 1927 Public 29,298 1995 ** $674 million (Systemwide)
Rice University Owls Houston, Texasmarker 1891 Private/Non-sectarian 3,102 2005 $3.6 billion
Southern Methodist Universitymarker (SMU) Mustangs University Park, Texasmarker (Dallasmarker) 1911 Private/United Methodist 6,000 2005 $1.37 billion
University of Texas at El Pasomarker (UTEP) Miners El Paso, Texasmarker 1914 Public 17,261 2005 $151 million
Tulane Universitymarker Green Wave New Orleans, Louisianamarker 1834 Private/Non-sectarian 6,749 1995 $807 million
University of Tulsamarker Golden Hurricane Tulsa, Oklahomamarker 1894 Private/Presbyterian 2,987 2005 $915 million
East Division
University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Blazers Birmingham, Alabamamarker 1969 Public 11,681 1995 $332 million
University of Central Floridamarker (UCF) Knightsmarker Orlando, Floridamarker 1963 Public 45,301 2005 $114 million
East Carolina Universitymarker (ECU) Pirates Greenville, North Carolinamarker 1907 Public 20,974 1997 (football)

2001 (all other sports)
$152 million
Marshall Universitymarker Thundering Herd Huntington, West Virginiamarker 1837 Public 13,584 2005 $60 million
University of Memphismarker Tigers Memphis, Tennesseemarker 1912 Public 16,719 1995 $183 million
The University of Southern Mississippimarker (USM) Golden Eagles Hattiesburg, Mississippimarker 1910 Public 12,248 1995 $81 million
Locations of current Conference USA full member institutions.
** – Houston was a founding member of C-USA in 1995, but did not begin competing until 1996 because of its commitments to the final year of competition of the Southwest Conference.

Former members

Membership timeline

DateFormat = yyyyImageSize = width:750 height:auto barincrement:20Period = from:1995 till:2010TimeAxis = orientation:horizontalPlotArea = right:30 left:0 bottom:50 top:5

Colors = id:barcolor value:rgb(0.99,0.7,0.7)
        id:line     value:black
        id:bg       value:white

 width:15 textcolor:black shift:(5,-5) anchor:from fontsize:s

 bar:1  color:red from:1995 till:2005 text:Cincinnatimarker (1995-2005)
 bar:2  color:red from:1995 till:2005 text:DePaulmarker (1995-2005)
 bar:3  color:red from:1995 till:2005 text:Louisvillemarker (1995-2005)
 bar:4  color:red from:1995 till:2005 text:Marquettemarker (1995-2005)
 bar:5  color:red from:1995 till:2005 text:Charlottemarker (1995-2005)
 bar:6  color:red from:1995 till:2005 text:Saint Louismarker (1995-2005)
 bar:7  color:red from:1995 till:2005 text:South Floridamarker (1995-2005)
 bar:8  color:red from:1995 till:end text:UAB (1995-present)
 bar:9  color:red from:1995 till:end text:Memphismarker (1995-present)
 bar:10 color:red from:1995 till:end text:Southern Mississippimarker (1995-present)
 bar:11 color:red from:1995 till:end text:Tulanemarker (1995-present)
 bar:12 color:red from:1996 till:end text:Houstonmarker (1996**-present)
 bar:13 color:red from:1997 till:end text:East Carolinamarker (football only 1997-2001; full 2001-present)
 bar:14 color:red from:1998 till:2004 text:Armymarker (football only, 1998-2004)
 bar:15 color:red from:2001 till:2005 text:TCUmarker (2001-2005)
 bar:16 color:red from:2005 till:end text:UCFmarker (2005-present)
 bar:17 color:red from:2005 till:end text:Marshallmarker (2005-present)
 bar:18 color:red from:2005 till:end text:Rice (2005-present)
 bar:19 color:red from:2005 till:end text:SMUmarker (2005-present)
 bar:20 color:red from:2005 till:end text:UTEPmarker (2005-present)
 bar:21 color:red from:2005 till:end text:Tulsamarker (2005-present)

ScaleMajor = gridcolor:line unit:year increment:1 start:1995

TextData =
  pos:(175,30) # tabs:(0-center)
  text:"Conference USA Membership History"

Football divisions

East West

Soccer-only members

Because men's soccer is not sponsored by all NCAA Division I conferences, three schools from other conferences are C-USA members for men's soccer only:

Sun Belt Conference Members

Southeastern Conference Members

NOTE: South Carolina had remained in the Metro for men's soccer shortly after departing the conference for the SEC in 1991, and left after the 1994-95 season when they were not permitted to join the reunified Conference USA for the sport only. The school was invited to rejoin the reunified conference in 2005, after which fellow SEC member Kentucky, the only other school that sponsors the sport, left the Mid-American Conference in that sport.

Additionally there is one women's soccer only member:

Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Members(The SCAC is an NCAA Division 3 conference, however Colorado College sponsors women's soccer as a Division 1 sport.)



In 2005, C-USA began a long-term television contract with CBS College Sports Network (then known as CSTV) to carry a variety of sports. The deal largely replaced the one it had with ESPN and ESPN Plus, though some C-USA football and men's basketball games are still carried by the ESPN networks. The college basketball men's championship game can be seen on CBS Sports.

Conference facilities

School Football stadium Capacity Basketball arena Capacity Baseball stadium Capacity Soccer stadium Capacity
West Division
Houstonmarker Robertson Stadiummarker 32,000 Hofheinz Pavilionmarker 8,500 Cougar Fieldmarker 3,500 Robertson Stadium 32,000
Rice Rice Stadiummarker 47,000 Tudor Fieldhousemarker 5,000 Reckling Parkmarker 5,000 Rice Track/Soccer Stadiummarker 5,000
SMUmarker Gerald J.marker Ford Stadiummarker 32,000 Moody Coliseummarker 8,998 Westcott Fieldmarker 4,000
UTEPmarker Sun Bowl Stadiummarker 51,500 Don Haskins Centermarker 12,222 University Fieldmarker 500
Tulanemarker Louisiana Superdomemarker 69,703 Avron B.marker Fogelman Arenamarker 3,600 Greer Field at Turchin Stadiummarker 5,000 Westfeldt Facility 1,500
Tulsamarker H.marker A.marker Chapman Stadiummarker 35,542 Reynolds Centermarker 8,355 Hurricane Soccer & Track Stadiummarker 2,000
East Division
UAB Legion Fieldmarker 71,594 Bartow Arenamarker 8,508 Jerry D.marker Young Memorial Fieldmarker 1,000 West Campus Field 2,500
UCFmarker Bright House Networks Stadiummarker 45,301 UCF Arenamarker 10,045 Jay Bergman Fieldmarker 1,980 UCF Track and Soccer Complexmarker 2,000
East Carolinamarker Dowdy-Ficklen Stadiummarker 43,000 Williams Arena at Minges Coliseummarker 8,000 Clark-LeClair Stadiummarker 6,000 Bunting Field >3,000
Marshallmarker Joan C.marker Edwards Stadiummarker 38,019 Cam Henderson Centermarker 9,600 Appalachian Power Parkmarker 4,500 Sam Hood Fieldmarker 1,500
Memphismarker Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadiummarker 62,380 FedExForummarker (men)
Elma Roane Fieldhousemarker (women)
Nat Buring Stadiummarker 2,000 Mike Rose Stadium 2,500
Southern Missmarker M.marker M.marker Roberts Stadiummarker 36,000 Reed Green Coliseummarker 8,095 Pete Taylor Parkmarker 3,678 USM Track & Soccer Complex 850

School Soccer stadium Capacity
Soccer-Only Members
Colorado College Stewart Field n/a
Florida Internationalmarker University Park 2,000
Kentucky UK Soccer Complexmarker 1,500
South Carolina Eugene E.marker Stone III Stadiummarker 5,700


Football bowl games

Conference USA sends teams to seven different bowl games throughout the country.

Starting in 2010, Conference USA will send teams to the following bowls.


Member schools ranked by endowment

  1. Rice University- $4.67 billion
  2. Southern Methodist Universitymarker- $1.33 billion
  3. University of Tulsamarker- $1.3 billion
  4. Tulane Universitymarker- $1.1 billion
  5. University of Houstonmarker- $522 million
  6. University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)- $401 million
  7. University of Memphismarker- $183 million
  8. University of Texas at El Pasomarker- $132 million
  9. East Carolina Universitymarker- $121 million
  10. University of Central Floridamarker- $116 million
  11. University of Southern Mississippimarker- $81 million
  12. Marshall Universitymarker – $60 million


  2. In 2009, if Army is ineligible to participate in a bowl game, their automatic slot will be replaced by a team from C-USA.
  3. The State Journal - News for West Virginia's Leaders

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