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THE FINAL 49: 

 We take a moment during each of the Final 49 weeks until Kickoff 2013 to look at various aspects of the Charlotte 49ers football program.

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Conference Call

July 1, 2013

By Tom Whitestone

July 1, which signalled Charlotte's move to Conference USA, was a big day for the 49ers football program.

No, the 49ers football team isn't joining Conference USA this year.  They won't join Conference USA until 2015.  But they will join.

A program that has yet to play a game already has its sights set on FBS football.

So, after two years as an FCS football independent, Charlotte football will join Conference USA.  

The logo is on the field.  Recruits have been signed with FCS football in mind.  Operations are gearing up under the expectation of FBS football.

Today, on the Charlotte 49ers pages, there was reason to talk about league partners that participated in bowl games last year.  Just like noting NCAA Tournament teams in various sports, there was reason to give props to those programs that won bowl games. 

Bowl games.  

To think that the Charlotte 49ers are concerned about bowl games shows how far this upstart program has come in a very short time.

In 2008, we were looking for approval from administration.

In 2010, we were looking for approval from the state.

In 2011, we were hiring our first coach and breaking ground on our stadium

In 2012, we were signing our first class and holding our first practice.

And in 2013, we are talking about bowl games?

Sure it may be years before the 49ers compete in their first bowl game -- but much like the stadium, the first practice, the first game -- that which seems so far off in the distance is often closer than we think.

There's no telling when that first bowl game will come -- but it is a lot closer than it was 5 years ago -- nevermind 15 years ago.

Five years ago we were hopeful to form a team.  We were hopeful to add a sport and wondering where on earth it would play.  Five years ago, we were all about questions and wishes.

Since then, questions and wishes alike have been answered.

The process has been swift, the progress substantial.

And on July 1, the 49ers officially moved to Conference USA.  On July 1, the 49ers officially found an FBS home for its start-up football program.

Before even playing a game.

Yes, July 1 -- a day celebrated by each of the 49ers 16 other sports programs as they prepare for an upcoming season of new opponents, new rivals and new destinations -- was also a very big day for the 49ers football program.

Conference USA won't hit the 49ers gridiron until 2015.  But they will hit it.

And, like everything else along this journey -- it'll come quicker than you think.

#Kickoff2013


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