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Report: UConn in negotiations to join Conference USA as football only member

Per The Athletic, C-USA is looking to add UConn, Liberty and New Mexico State.

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Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Conference USA is currently in talks with UConn, New Mexico State and Liberty to join the league, Chris Vannini of The Athletic reported on Saturday.

UConn would join the conference as a football-only member, while New Mexico State and Liberty would join in all sports.

UPDATE: According to Hearst’s Mike Anthony, UConn has had one exploratory conversation with the conference to join as a football-only member, but it was more of a due diligence effort than a pursuit of long-term home for football.

“It’s our duty to consider options when they are presented to us and we’re always going to do what is in the best interest of our football program,” athletic director David Benedict told Anthony Thursday night. “Period.”

Benedict’s comments to Anthony are in line with reporting from Yahoo’s Pete Thamel, who reported shortly after The Athletic broke the news that UConn officials have spoken to Conference USA about potentially joining the conference in football only, but there haven’t been any negotiations and a decision isn't imminent.

Conference USA was decimated in the most recent round of realignment by the American Athletic Conference, who extended invites to Florida Atlantic, Charlotte, North Texas, UTSA, Rice and UAB, and the Sun Belt, who got revenge for poaching their top programs in 2013 by nabbing Southern Miss, Marshall and Old Dominion. No date has been set yet for these schools to leave C-USA, but it’s expected occur prior to the start of the 2023-24 season.

The conference now has just five full-time members: FIU, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, UTEP and Western Kentucky. They have reportedly looked at Sam Houston, Tarleton State, McNeese State, Missouri State and others as potential options to round out the conference.

It's worth noting that a lot of moving parts have to be hashed out on the Conference USA side before things become official. This is an evolving story, and we will be updating it accordingly — stay tuned here for more updates.