Florida Atlantic University will begin Conference USA competition in Fall 2013.

Boca Raton, Fla. -- Florida Atlantic University will begin Conference USA competition in Fall 2013, a year ahead of schedule.

Middle Tennessee State will join the Owls in making the move from the Sun Belt Conference to C-USA this summer.

FAU entered into a membership agreement with Conference USA (C-USA) on Nov. 29, 2012.

"Florida Atlantic University is excited to be joining Conference USA beginning in the 2013-14 season," said FAU President Mary Jane Saunders. "Membership in Conference USA provides FAU with increased national exposure and a wide range of opportunities. The league's television partnerships, large footprint and bowl tie-ins will expose our student-athletes to new experiences as they compete against schools across 10 states and in several of the top media markets in the country. Conference USA has a history of athletic success and FAU is honored to be associated with the great institutions that define the league."

C-USA's existing media contracts include television partnerships with FOX Sports Media Group, CBS Sports Network and ESPN. The league is a member of football's Bowl Championship Series, and all of FAU's 19 sports will be a member of one conference for the first time since 2001.

"We are thankful for President Saunders and her extraordinary leadership and vision throughout this process," said Patrick Chun, FAU Director of Athletics. "This is a bold and decisive step for our entire athletic program. Conference USA will bring forth new challenges, opportunities and expectations. The platform offered by Conference USA and Commissioner Britton Banowsky mirror the upward trajectory of our great institution. We will continue to build our athletic program to represent Florida Atlantic University on the highest of levels."

C-USA has consistently been ranked as one of the top men's basketball league's in the country while its women's basketball teams have made 47 NCAA Tournament and 38 Women's National Invitation Tournament appearances. Six C-USA members have reached baseball's College World Series.

"Florida Atlantic University is a rising star, a dynamic and growing university in a wonderful place," said Banowsky. "They are a great fit and we are so pleased to have them on board next season."

FAU has been affiliated with the Sun Belt Conference since 2005 after a period as a Division I-AA independent institution. As a member of the Sun Belt, FAU's student-athletes have garnered success on the field and off, securing seven conference championships. FAU's football team won the Sun Belt championship in 2007 and the league's bowl tie-ins led to appearances and victories in the 2007 New Orleans Bowl and the 2008 Motor City Bowl. The men's golf, women's cross country and women's tennis teams recently received the NCAA's 2011-12 Public Recognition Award, an honor bestowed on teams with a Division I Academic Progress Rate in the top 10 percent of all squads in their respective sports.

FAU's athletic department includes nearly 450 student-athletes competing in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and volleyball. Cheer and dance are also part of the department and represent the University within the community and at national competitions and camps.

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