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Courtesy: UTSA Athletics

UTSA to join Conference USA in 2013-14

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SAN ANTONIO — The University of Texas at San Antonio announced Friday that it has entered into a membership agreement to join Conference USA (C-USA). The Roadrunners, along with Charlotte, FIU (Florida International), Louisiana Tech and North Texas, officially will become members of the league on July 1, 2013. Old Dominion announced on Thursday, May 17, that it, too, will join to conference.

The remainder of C-USA beginning in 2013-14 will include East Carolina, Marshall, Rice, Southern Mississippi, Tulane, Tulsa, UAB and UTEP. The league office is located in Irving, Texas.

"Today is another outstanding day to be a Roadrunner," President Dr. Ricardo Romo said. "We are very excited about our new partnership with Conference USA. It is a great fit for us, and it is a significant step forward for the University and the entire city of San Antonio."

“This is yet another historic day for UTSA,” Athletics Director Lynn Hickey said. “Today’s invitation is a realization of a lot of hard work by so many different people, and we couldn’t have done it without the support of the city and its community leaders. This truly was a collaborative effort. It’s another great moment for the city of San Antonio, our University and the athletics department. Everyone truly is excited to be moving to Conference USA.”

“We are pleased to welcome UTSA to Conference USA,” Commissioner Britton Banowsky said. “They are an amazing University in a very dynamic and vibrant city. Without a doubt, they will be a good fit for us. What is truly impressive is the way they launched their football program, which is a tribute to the strong leadership in place.”

UTSA competes in 17 intercollegiate sports — baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, football, men’s and women’s golf, women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track & field and women’s volleyball — at the Division I level.

The Roadrunners currently are a part of the Southland Conference, where they have been a member since 1991-92. The department has won 55 Southland Team Championships since joining the league, 35 of which have come since 2000-01. UTSA also won the 2007-08 & ’10-11 Commissioner’s Cup and it boasts a conference-leading 28 Southland Student-Athletes of the Year since the league started handing out the award in 2002-03.

UTSA will be joining the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) on July 1 and all 17 of its sports programs will play full WAC schedules during the 2012-13 academic year.

From its beginning in 1995, C-USA’s dedication to excellence has been the guiding principle and that remains a common thread for a promising future. The league currently is home to 12 nationally-prominent, tradition-rich members and that combination enhances men’s and women’s programs that are immersed in athletics success and academic prowess. Together, C-USA is committed to excellence, integrity and leadership in athletics, academics and in their communities, which cover nine states and nearly 17 million people.

All C-USA institutions play in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, along with several other Division I-A men’s and women’s athletics programs, many of which compete regularly for NCAA Championships. C-USA sponsors competition in 20 sports — nine for men (baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, tennis and indoor and outdoor track & field) and 11 for women (basketball, cross country, golf, rowing, softball, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, indoor and outdoor track & field and volleyball).

C-USA performers have achieved great success on the playing field, placing the league among the top conferences in the nation. Sixty-seven football programs have earned bowl bids, 102 men’s basketball teams have participated in the postseason play (49 NCAA/41 NIT/6 CIT/6 CBI), 47 women’s basketball squads have appeared in the NCAA Tournament and 53 baseball programs have made NCAA Tournament appearances. Additionally, 36 volleyball teams, 61 men’s and women’s soccer squads and 30 softball programs have received NCAA Championship bids. The league also has had seven national champions in track & field, one in diving and numerous NCAA individual and team competitors in cross country, golf, rowing, swimming and tennis. Overall, C-USA teams and individuals have made nearly 700 NCAA Championship appearances since  the league’s inception in 1995-96.

The conference also sponsors numerous academic awards, including the Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the Commissioner’s Academic Medal, indicative of outstanding achievement in the classroom.

C-USA annually awards 12 postgraduate scholarships, along with the Sport Academic Award, Scholar-Athletes of the Year and the Institutional Academic Excellence Award. The league also presents a Spirit of Service Award, which recognizes student-athletes three times a year for a combination of significant community service efforts, good academic standing and participation in their elected sport.

C-USA institutions are among the nation’s best in academic performance, bolstered by the fact that student-athletes at league institutions have a higher graduation rate than the general student population. Among C-USA’s more than 5,000 student-athletes, there are champions off the playing field as well. In 17 years, more than 150 student-athletes have earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors, while nearly 600 have been named Academic All-District. In addition, more than 22,000 student-athletes have been named to the league’s Commissioner’s Honor Roll or received the Commissioner’s Academic Medal, which is indicative of outstanding achievement in the classroom.

UTSA is one of the largest of nine academic universities and six health institutions in the University of Texas System. As a multicultural institution of access and excellence, UTSA aims to be a national research university that provides access to educational excellence and prepares citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA serves nearly 31,000 students in more than 135 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs in the Colleges of Architecture, Business, Education & Human Development, Engineering, Honors, Liberal & Fine Arts, Public Policy, Sciences and Graduate School. Founded in 1969, it is an intellectual and creative resource center and a socioeconomic development catalyst for Texas and beyond.

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