Florida Atlantic University Owls could move to Conference USA

Conference realignment is back, and this time around, the FAU Owls might be swooped up in the winds of change.

The Big Ten Conference's shakeup of the college sports landscape has rippled through the NCAA, and it's nowhere close to being finished. While some conferences look to expand, others are plugging holes and trying to get ahead of the next poaching.

It's safe to say that the piano is still playing in the musical chairs game between member institutions of the ACC, Big East and Conference-USA.

Soon, that game could include the Sun Belt Conference.

After losing Tulane and East Carolina to the Big East, the Virginian Pilot is reporting that Conference-USA will look to expand in the near future. That expansion would be made possible by defectors from the Sun Belt Conference.

FAU athletic director Pat Chun told the Sun Sentinel Wednesday, "We're monitoring the situation, and we won't comment on any hypotheticals."

FIU and North Texas already made the jump to C-USA last summer, and David Neal of the Miami Herald is reporting that FIU athletic director Pete Garcia is lobbying the school's soon-to-be conference to extend an invitation to FAU.

The possibility of FAU joining Conference-USA has been floated in the past, but the allure for C-USA to to locked down the South Florida television market, as well as keeping FIU happy by adding its rival, and helping with travel costs for the entire league (non-revenue teams would double-dip in South Florida), makes the #FAUSA option high feasible at this moment.

A solid source — and some common sense — says FAU wouldn't have to be asked twice to make the jump to C-USA. If the Owls are to stay in the Sun Belt in 2013, their closest rival would be Georgia State, in Atlanta.

Furthermore, the C-USA television rights payouts are believed to be $1 million more, annually, than schools are paid in the Sun Belt.

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