FAU leaving Sun Belt for Conference USA in 2014

Zack Kelberman

Photo by Melissa Landolfa

It’s already known that Florida International, which has defeated FAU in the last two Shula Bowls, is defecting from the Sun Belt to Conference USA in 2013.

Surprisingly, FAU wasn’t too far behind.

The Miami Herald reported that FIU Athletic Director Pete Garcia was “lobbying” Conference USA officials to invite FAU in for the 2014 season.

And now it’s official.

According to the Sun Sentinel, FAU will be leaving the Sun Belt and joining Conference USA in 2014, joining North Texas and their longtime Shula Bowl opponent as teams that recently have jumped ship.

Financial opportunity and logistics were likely at the forefront of the decision.

First — and perhaps most importantly — Conference USA’s annual payout is $1 million more than the Sun Belt.  Also, if the Owls remained in the Sun Belt, their closest rival by proximity would’ve been Georgia State –– in Atlanta.

Now, by switching conferences, FAU gains the added perks of revenue, reasonable travel distance and the rekindling of the budding rivalry with FIU.