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C-USA in 2013 imminent

FAU's efforts to jump to Conference USA in 2013 appear to have been successful.

Originally published on 1/18/2013

by Chuck King

All signs are pointing to Florida Atlantic heading to Conference USA in 2013, a year earlier than expected.

FAU officials are in the final stages of joining C-USA on July 1 along with Middle Tennessee, which will also be leaving the Sun Belt Conference.

C-USA will hold its previously scheduled conference meetings in Miami next week and FAU administrators are expected to attend. C-USA has no official announcement scheduled, but one is expected by as early as next week.

C-USA hopes to have its football schedule finalized by Feb. 1 and AD Pat Chun told OwlAccess.com this week he has been talking with C-USA about next season's schedule.

Several FAU sources told Owl Access that moving to 2013 "will happen."

"They are working hard to making that a reality but I don't know how close they are," FAU athletics spokeswoman Katrina McCormack said.

Officials from Conference USA, FAU and MTSU have been saying for weeks they would like this deal to happen.

A report by ESPN.com's Brett McMurphy said FAU and MTSU will join by 2013, but FAU officials said they have not made a decision.

One of the biggest issues concerning FAU leaving by 2013 is a buyout of $1 million FAU would owe the Sun Belt Conference for leaving a year early. However, it is believed FAU and the Sun Belt may be able to reach an agreement to pay less because many schools are concerned about the travel costs to come to South Florida to play just one game after FIU leaves the Sun Belt this season.

A tweet from a reporter with the Texas State Rivals site said that FAU and MTSU have agreed to a Sun Belt buyout between $600,000 and $700,000. No such agreement can become official until Sun Belt presidents vote on it, though.

Texas State is an incoming member to the Sun Belt.

In November FAU and Middle Tennessee announced they would join Conference USA in 2014, but Owl Access reported the day after the announcement that FAU was looking into the possibility of joining in 2013.

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