We are officially [going to be] CUSA members.
Also, official? The new configuration will only have 13 members. ODU is still unsure if they want to absorb the new costs that will come with joining a new, more powerful conference. With the payouts from CUSA at around $2-3 million, and new television negotiations looking to push that number higher, there is a significant revenue jump to be had by all the new members. Facilities are expensive, however. A trickle of millions does not pay for major construction in a short amount of time.
We were in a similar situation. The promise of better things, Athletic Director Rick Villareal’s leadership, and a renewed commitment to sports were all things that finally pushed UNT into the conference we wanted to join back in 2004.
Then, we were told we didn’t have the facilities. So we built a practice facility and a Village and a bad-ass stadium. Now we are going to be legit. This move isn’t just about conference affiliation in name. It is about associating ourselves with larger markets and better programs. San Antonio, Houston, Miami, East Coast. The same way the Dallas Cowboys became America’s team by playing Philly, New York, and Washington will be the same way we raise our profile in the national college football consciousness.
We all know this. The Sun Belt is a nice little league and perfect for some programs. The North Texas fan base has long held loftier ambitions. Some say those ambitions are misplaced, that we should accept our fate as also-rans in the state of Texas.
That is un-American, yo. That is definitely un-Mean Green. I applaud the efforts of those involved. The list is too long to place in this space. All the athletes who competed, the students who paid tuition, attended the school, and later donated, campaigned, and followed UNT. Give yourselves an applause. You too, administrators, professors, citizens of Denton, and any one who was a part of making this happen. Congrats.
Now there is more work to do.
It isn’t enough to be on the cusp of greatness. There is work to be done, championships to be won, bowls to be invited to, and tournaments to win.
In 1952, we had a shiny new stadium, and tons of potential. Let’s not squander this opportunity.
I’m thinking we might not have seen the last of Middle Tennessee as a conference member. Old Dominion’s replacement might very well be the Blue Raiders if things break right. Word is that the CUSA East members preferred ODU because it eased the travel burden. Nashville fits the profile of the new CUSA, however. ODU’s loss might be just the break that will save MTSU’s leadership from the backlash from the fan base.
PJ Harwick committed to UNT. This is Benford’s first big signing. You pumped? I’d rather have depth along the frontline but you can’t have too many good players.
Remember when UNT joined the Sun Belt and then rattled off four straight conference championships? Hurm.
Who are you most excited about playing? I’ve said lots of times that UTSA (because of my connection with San Antonio) is my favorite opponent but I can see the arguments for all the CUSA West teams, Rice, and Tulsa especially.
Biggest winners? LaTech. Went from increasing irrelevance (decreasing relevance?) in the WAC and a brutal travel schedule to playing big market teams in a cozy conference.
RV talked more about baseball. Sweet.
Link to transcript of CUSA commissioner Britton Banowsky talk.