While trying to console a 7-year-old who somehow injured a calf in the shower and now can't go to sleep, we bring you the long awaited news projected on this blog back on August 13 and spoken of often since.
The FIU-Sun Belt marriage is about to go through the year of legal separation before D-I-V-O-R-C-E. The Other Conference waiting to walk down the aisle with FIU is, of course, Conference USA. Camp Mitch sources confirm that FIU will be joining Conference USA in 2013. FIU's already a member for men's soccer.
Official announcements likely will be made within a week. FIU athletic director Pete Garcia refused comment other than to acknowledge FIU had been in talks with C-USA for weeks.
Conference USA lost UCF, Houston, SMU and Memphis to the Big East. Inviting FIU replaces the UCF with another school with the massive enrollment in a large Florida market and up-and-coming athletic program. Houston and SMU account for two large Texas markets, Houston and Dallas.
The Sun Belt's having a media conference call tomorrow to discuss the future of the conference, which also probably loses North Texas (near the Dallas TV market) to the C-USA rebuild. I thought they'd lose FAU also because smart expansions usually don't leave a team without a natural nearby potential rival or travel partner. But the Owls' Nest is a mess right now, despite the swanky new football joint.
The Conference USA-Mountain West full football merger's been put off, but C-USA does have its own football championship game. Football motivates the movement these days. Conference USA includes Marshall (FIU's conqueror in the 2011 Beef O'Brady's Bowl), Tulsa (Jerry Rhome, Dolphins Very Good Howard Twilley), Lousiana Tech (Terry Bradshaw), Southern Mississippi (Favre); UTEP. All should be better draws than Sun Belt teams and bring more folks with them.
Senior Katie Mundy, who finished second after a playoff for the individual Sun Belt title, has been invited to the NCAA East Regional at Penn State next week.