FIU Jumps to C-USA, Leaving Sun Belt Conference Behind

Categories: Sports
The great college athletic conference shake up of the past year isn't quite over yet, and it's working its way down to the mid-majors.

This morning, Florida International University announced that it's leaving the Sun Belt conference behind, and is moving on up to Conference USA in 2013. FIU could be looked at as something of a replacement for University of Central Florida which is leaving the conference for the Big East in 2013.

FIU has been a member of the Sun Belt conference since 1998, and started playing Division I football in 2002. Though, FIU was already an affiliate member of C-USA. Its men's soccer team already competes in the conference.

FIU will be one of five new school joining C-USA in 2013. Charlotte, Florida International, Louisiana Tech, North Texas and Texas-San Antonio will also be joining the conference. Current members Memphis, UCF, Houston and SMU will all be leaving for the Big East the same year the new school join.

The football program in particular is on the rise under head coach Mario Cristobal. He's taken the team to bowls in the past two seasons, and in 2010 lead the team to its first Sun Belt Conference Championship. He'll only have one more season to reclaim that prize before setting his sites on the C-USA trophy.

The conference move will also mean that Cristobal will regularly face off against his old boss, former University of Miami Head Coach Larry Coker. Crisotbal served as tight ends coach and offensive line coach during Coker's last three seasons at Miami. Coker is now the head coach of the young Texas-San Antonio football program.

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