Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

UTSA accepts invitation to join C-USA in 2013

The Roadrunners’ tenure in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) will begin on July 1, 2012, but it won’t last more than a year beacause UTSA accepted an invitation to join Conference-USA (C-USA) on May 4. The Roadrunners will become members on July 1, 2013.

“Today is another great day for UTSA,” President Ricardo Romo said during a press conference on May 4, “I’d like to thank Commissioner Britton Banowski and the university presidents for their faith and trust in UTSA.”

The move means that UTSA will be entering a conference with more stability than the WAC and better name recognition.

Conference-USA has TV deals with ESPN, Fox Sports and CBS Sports, which means the Roadrunners will have more of a chance to be seen by a wider audience.

“It is almost surreal,” Athletic Director Lynn Hickey said of the move. “This was the right thing to do. We are doing it for our students, our athletes and our community.”

Also joining the Roadrunners in Conference USA will be the University of North Texas and Florida International, both currently of the Sun Belt Conference; Louisiana Tech, currently in the WAC; and Old Dominion, from the Atlantic 10 Conference.

The University of North Carolina-Charlotte, will also join C-USA in 2013, but their football team won’t join until 2015, its third year of existence.

“When I first came here, there wasn’t a lot of people who believed in what UTSA could become; it was more of an afterthought,” Hickey said. “Because of Dr. Romo’s leadership, courage and foresight, we are here today.”

Current C-USA members (the University of Houston, Southern Methodist University, the University of Central Florida and the University of Memphis) made UTSA’s move to the conference possible when they accepted invitations to join the Big East in 2013.

“This is a really exciting day for us,” C-USA Commissioner Banowski said. “It’s not often that a conference gets to add five new schools.”

By joining C-USA, the Roadrunners will open up competitive opportunities with other metropolitan schools such as Rice in Houston, Tulane in New Orleans and Florida International in Miami.

“This is how you build rivalries,” Hickey said. “They’re going to come to our city, and our fans are going to go their cities, and the rivalries will grow.”

The invitation from C-USA is another important step in UTSA’s upward climb in the hierarchy of regional schools.

“We are impressed by the work being done at UTSA,” Banowski said. “As we introduced the idea to the other universities, they were really impressed by the potential of the market.”

The Roadrunners would like to keep playing rival Texas State, who accepted an invitation to join the Sun Belt in 2013.

The two rivals will play their first football game against each other this fall on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

It will also be their last football game against each other as conference rivals.

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