Right in the middle of the NFL draft comes more breaking news regarding expansion: the University of Texas--San-Antonio will join Conference USA for the 2013 season according to
Brett McMurphy over at CBSsports. The school is only awaiting approval from the University of Texas System Board of Regents to allow the Roadrunners to accept a CUSA invitation, negotiate, and finalize the terms. UTSA was scheduled to join the Western Athletic Conference on July 1.
Conference USA is looking to replace the losses of UCF, Houston, and Southern Methodist who will be joining the Big East next year along with Boise State and San Diego State of the Mountain West Conference. Besides UTSA, Conference USA is planning to add North Texas and Florida International from the Sun Belt and Louisiana Tech from the WAC. Those four schools would bring the conference back to 12 members,casting further doubt that immediate merger plans with the MWC will probably not occur anytime in the near future.
Those same sources also told CBSsports that the Mountain West Conference is also expected to expand, but independently. Two teams to be added to the league in time for the 2013 season are Utah State and San Jose State, both of the Western Athletic Conference. That will bring the league back up to 10 members leaving two openings should the MWC decide to expand to get to a 12-team conference.
The loss of Texas-San Antonio, Louisiana Tech, Utah State and SJSU would have a devastating effect on the Western Athletic Conference and its days as a football conference could be numbered. Some circles are already speculating that the WAC survivors will be forced to merge with the Sunbelt Conference, now under the leadership and direction of the former WAC commissioner, Karl Benson. Benson is already on record favoring expansion for the Sun Belt, which presently has 10 football members, when he said in late February
he thinks there is "an advantage to getting to at least 12."