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North Texas Officially Joined Conference USA July 1

July 10th, 2013 Posted in Alumni News

North Texas’ much-anticipated, long-sought move to Conference USA officially takes place on July 1, 2013, inaugurating an era that finds the Mean Green with the most geographic rivals since the 1950s and with more post-season opportunities than ever before.

“This is validation that the progress we have made in our athletic programs in conjunction with our university’s academic reputation has made us a suitable fit for the high standards of Conference USA,” athletic director Rick Villarreal said. “It is a tremendous opportunity for North Texas athletics.”

One of the biggest perks of the move to C-USA is chance to establish something that has been missing at North Texas since its days in the Gulf Coast and Lone Star conferences – rivalries.

The new conference means North Texas will be in a league with three other schools in Texas and three schools in bordering states. In all, seven members of the new Conference USA are within 650 miles of Denton, whereas only three of football-playing Sun Belt members were within that radius. The Mean Green suddenly gains geographically-close adversaries to play in every sport, every year.

That is the stuff of rivalries.

“It’s cool for the players, because they’re going to have grown up playing against and sometimes with a lot of kids who get recruited in this conference, especially this division,” said women’s basketball coach Mike Petersen, a veteran of the intense rivalries in the ACC.

“I’m excited because I think it’s going to help all the sports in general, our fan base, recruiting and being able to build rivalries,” said soccer coach John Hedlund.

The move will also be an enormous boost in visibility for North Texas. The football team will be on national television eight times this year, as opposed to three such appearances last season. Also, more North Texas road games in a variety of sports will be streamed live than in previous years, a benefit of the North Texas move to C-USA and’s move to CBS Interactive, which also takes place July 1.

Conference USA also sends more schools to post-season play than the Sun Belt. The league owns tie-ins to seven football bowl games; has sent multiple teams to the NCAA soccer tournament every season since 2005; sent three teams to the NCAA volleyball tournament in 2008 and two in 2009; and ranks eighth in the nation in bids to the NCAA basketball tournament.

“Kids want opportunities to be on television and to go to bowl games, and Conference USA just enhances all of those things for all of us,” said football coach Dan McCarney. “C-USA has tremendous bowl tie-ins and great television exposure.”

The Mean Green’s first Conference USA contests take place on September 27, 2013, in Denton, when the North Texas volleyball team hosts East Carolina and the soccer team plays Southern Miss. Football begins C-USA play a week later on October 5 at Tulane.

Tickets for the inaugural Conference USA season are available through the North Texas Athletic Ticket Office online at, in person at Apogee Stadium Monday through Friday from 8 to 5, or by phone at 800-868-2366.

2013 Conference USA West Division:

  • Louisiana Tech
  • North Texas
  • Rice
  • Southern Miss
  • Texas-El Paso
  • Texas-San Antonio
  • Tulane
  • Tulsa

2013 Conference USA East Division:

  • Alabama-Birmingham
  • East Carolina
  • Florida International
  • Florida Atlantic
  • Marshall
  • Middle Tennessee
  • North Carolina-Charlotte
  • Old Dominion
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