Middle Tennessee to remain in C-USA after considering joining MAC

Middle Tennessee will remain in Conference USA after considering an exit to the Mid-American Conference.

University president Sidney McPhee said in a statement that Conference USA’s recent additions of Jacksonville State, Liberty, New Mexico State and Sam Houston State will help stabilize the league. Conference USA has lost eight current members in the latest round of realignment. Six schools — Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice, UAB and UTSA — are set to join the American Athletic Conference, while Marshall and Southern Miss are headed to the Sun Belt.

“With the addition of four new members, C-USA offers a strong footprint in the South and Southwest, providing opportunities to develop new regional rivalries, while staying connected to traditional opponents that our fans want,” McPhee said in the prepared statement. “Building on the conference’s storied history of success, I believe our continued affiliation offers our Blue Raider community the greatest opportunity for success and should enhance our fan engagement. Working with our four remaining members, as well as our new partners, Conference USA is poised to rebrand itself as a premier conference in the Group of 5.”

Conference USA commissioner Judy MacLeod said a statement that the league remains a “great fit” for Middle Tennessee, which joined Conference USA from the Sun Belt in 2014.

“While several institutions have indicated interest in joining our league, we will use this time to be deliberate and strategic in exploring any potential additional expansion,” MacLeod said in her statement.

While Middle Tennessee is staying, Western Kentucky remains a candidate to depart Conference USA, The Action Network reported Wednesday. MAC officials recently had discussions about adding both schools, according to sources.

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