Western Kentucky formally joins Conference USA

Western Kentucky has formally joined Conference USA, the league announced Monday morning.

The move was first reported by the Bowling Green (Ky.) Daily News and confirmed by CBSSports.com's Jeremy Fowler.

The Hilltoppers will be a Conference USA member beginning in 2014, replacing Tulsa in the 14-team league. Last month, Tulsa moved to the soon-to-be renamed Big East.

Western Kentucky will be phased in to a full share in Conference USA and have access to Conference USA's five bowls compared to the Sun Belt's two. The school will be joining nine other schools with which it has had a conference affiliation: Marshall, Charlotte, Old Dominion, Louisiana Tech, Alabama-Birmingham, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, North Texas and Middle Tennessee.

James Madison and Liberty have been mentioned as possible replacements for Western Kentucky in the Sun Belt. Both are emerging FBS programs.

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