CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 18: Melvin Johnson III #31 of the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners gets a rebound against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Quicken Loans Arena on March 18, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Today, officials from Conference USA made their recent expansion moves official. In 2013, Charlotte, Florida International, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, and the University of Texas at San Antonio will become members of C-USA. All will be members in basketball, but only 4 of the 5 will begin competing in football immediately. Charlotte will not join as a football member until 2015. Their football program is still in the works, and won't take the field at any level until 2013.
Previous reports had stated that Old Dominion would also be joining the league in 2013, but it was later found that the university is still considering that move. Here is a nice writeup on that hesitation. The article reports ODU has concerns with the added expenses of such a move, stating that "current C-USA members reported football expenses ranging from $6.3 million to $12.2 million...ODU spent a little over $5 million on football for the same period".
Officials at Old Dominion have requested an extension on making their decision, but it is still unclear exactly how long Conference USA will give them. It is also still unclear, when ODU would make the jump to FBS, if they were to move to C-USA. They currently compete at the FCS level, and would need to notify the NCAA by June 1, should they plan to enter FBS in 2013. If Old Dominion does decline the invite, it is said that Middle Tennessee could be the next option.
For Conference USA, the additions do not exactly make up for the losses of Houston, Memphis, SMU, and UCF, but it does allow it to remain as one of the top conferences outside of the power 6. In football, the league's strongest members would be Southern Miss, Tulsa, ECU, Marshall, FIU, and La Tech, in no particular order. In basketball the conference would boast members Southern Miss, Marshall, UTEP, Tulsa, UAB, UTSA and potentially Old Dominion, again in no particular order. More to come, as it becomes available.