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Middle Tennessee leaving Sun Belt for Conference USA

Last Modified: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 1:14 PM

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), who lost 27-21 to McNeese State in their season opener, 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.

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