Charlotte 49ers fans take note. Conference USA football may not yet be done expanding, according to commissioner Britton Banowsky today in a report from CBSSports.com’s Jeremy Fowler.
Fowler reports that Banowsky is pondering further adding to C-USA’s football slate. They will already have FIU, FAU, La. Tech, Middle Tennessee State and North Texas jumping on board this July to replace departing programs; Old Dominion and Western Kentucky join in 2014 and Charlotte begins in 2015. (All of those schools are switching in all other sports in July except for WKU, who makes the move next year.)
“We’ve modeled it at 16, and it does kind of create some divisions that are a little more geographically connected,” Banowsky said. “We haven’t acted on it. I think personally a larger conference is better because you get some efficiencies, you get the benefit of a bigger group. We don’t want to lose our identity in the process. We’re just kind of moderating the growth at a pace where people are comfortable. It could be folks are just comfortable (at 14).”
Banowsky didn’t state any specific schools he was looking at, but Fowler believes Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette (from the Sun Belt) may be targeted. As for the reasoning, he writes:
A 16-team league would give C-USA more mouths to feed but could reduce travel costs if teams played primarily within eight-team, geographically friendly divisions…Adding two more teams could be preventative in a way — if the Big Ten raids again, then the ACC takes from the AAC, the AAC takes from C-USA. Going to 16 now could cut out the middleman.
Don’t be surprised if any moves take place. Although the waters may be calm at this point in time, all it takes is one shift to stir them up again. Stay tuned.