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Answer coming soon

FAU will know in the coming weeks whether it will be competing as a member of Conference USA beginning in the fall of 2013.

Originally published on 1/4/2013

by Chuck King

Florida Atlantic should know by the end of the month whether it will become a member of Conference USA for competition in the fall of 2013 or will have to wait until 2014.

Conference USA will hold its annual winter in Miami beginning on January 22, followed by a conference call with the Board of Trustees on January 24.

At that point Conference USA will need to finalize the schedules for the 2013 fall sports, including football.

"We're planning on being a 14-team league, but it definitely could be a 16 team league if MTSU and FAU want to join for next year," Assistant Commissioner for Public Affairs Courtney Morrison Archer said.

FAU officials say they are still trying to determine whether the move to Conference USA in 2013 is the right move.

"We're talking about it. We're definitely talking about it," FAU President Mary Jane Saunders said.

Saunders and C-USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky will likely have face-to-face conversations about the timeline next week.  Banowsky has scheduled visit to the Boca Raton campus, Saunders said.

In late November, Conference USA accepted FAU's application to join the league for the 2014 season, but left open the possibility that the Owls could join the conference a year sooner.

Should FAU make the move in 2013, FAU would have to pay a $1 million buyout to the Sun Belt - its current conference. The Owls won't have to pay any buyout should they leave after the 2013-14 academic year.

"For us to even have the option of going , we are going to have to figure out what we are doing with the Sun Belt first," FAU Athletic Director Pat Chun said.

Chun also added that FAU and Conference-USA have yet to undergo "formal discussions" about a move for next season. There have been plenty of conversations between Chun and Saunders, though.

"It's a big ticket item, so we are in constant communication," Chun said.

Current Sun Belt member Middle Tennessee also received an invitation to join C-USA in 2014. It seems unlikely that C-USA would take one without the other for 2013.

Chun said FAU and MTSU have also been communicating.

"They've been extraordinary partners throughout this whole process," Chun said. "It's nice to have someone who's in the same boat with us."

What will it take for FAU to become a member of C-USA in 2013?

"A lot of things have to fall into place," Saunders said. "There's more than just the financial. There's a lot of factors that go into decisions like that. ...We're having very good, legitimate conversations."

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