AP Source: Middle Tennessee joining Conference USA

Middle Tennessee has accepted an offer to join Conference USA

and is leaving the Sun Belt, a person familiar with the situation

said Wednesday.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of

anonymity because neither conference nor Middle Tennessee had

publically announced the decision. The Virginian-Pilot first

reported the move.

It is unclear when Middle Tennessee will join the conference.

The school announced it will hold a news conference on campus

Thursday but did not say what it was in regards to.

The Blue Raiders (8-3) play Arkansas State on Saturday for the

Sun Belt Conference championship.

The move is the latest domino to fall in conference

realignment.

Tulane and East Carolina announced Tuesday they are leaving

Conference USA to join the Big East. The Green Wave will be full

Big East members; the Pirates football only.

League officials announced in May that Conference USA was adding

five new schools in 2013: Charlotte, Florida International,

Louisiana Tech, North Texas and UT-San Antonio. Charlotte will

begin participating in conference football in 2015. Old Dominion is

joining C-USA in 2014.

In Middle Tennessee, C-USA is getting the largest public

university in the state of Tennessee. The school is located just 30

miles southeast of the Nashville media market in Murfreesboro,

Tenn.

Middle Tennessee jumped from Division I-AA in 1999 in football,

and the Blue Raiders have played in three bowls since 2005.

The Blue Raiders received votes in The Associated Press men’s

basketball poll last season with coach Kermit Davis earning a

five-year extension and finished with a school-record 27 wins. The

women’s basketball team has reached the NCAA tournament four

straight years and 15 times overall.