A somewhat minor realignment news item became official Tuesday, as Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee State announced they'll leave their arrangements with the Sun Belt a year ahead of schedule and join Conference USA next season. Both programs formally announced their agreement to eventually join C-USA in November.
This get-out-as-soon-as-you-can protocol is now the rule and not the exception when it comes to realignment in the modern era. It's an odd-bedfellows situation to keep programs in leagues over extended periods when the divorce is inevitable anyway, so all that lawyerin' goes on behind the scenes to cut ties sooner rather than later.
ESPN.com first reported this particular premature departure last week, and USA Today reported the reason for the stall dealt with -- what else? -- buyout terms.
FAU joined the Sun Belt in 2005, and MTSU has been a member since 2000. Middle Tennessee notes Kermit Davis is seven wins away from becoming the winningest men's hoops coach in that school's history. In practical terms, the move is being made for football reasons. Basketball-wise, both schools add little to C-USA, a league that's getting dinged with Memphis leaving for the Big East after this season.
And in the constant amorphous landscape of college athletics, it's always helpful to be caught up on where everyone has settled. Earlier this season we provided the primer on which programs hopped to new conferences, if you'd like to see it.
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