Oct. 14, 2011
"In the current climate of sudden change as it relates to conference affiliation, this proposal represents an effort to strengthen the overall position two existing conferences and offer each of our member institutions and their supporters a greater sense of stability as we look to the future. It has been conducted with an air of great civility and respect and represents a well thought-out approach to the challenges of recent times.
"The combined schools in this consolidation span five time zones and represent 20% of the current participants in the Bowl Championship Subdivision. Speaking as a combined voice gives us a greater opportunity to make our case, and competing together creates a much larger audience for our games. Both conferences have tremendous relationships with their broadcast partners, and the combination of these territories only enhances those relationships as we move forward.
"We have been a supporter of this consolidation from the start and firmly believe that this bold and proactive step is one that will create greater opportunities for Rice football in the future. This consolidation allows Rice to continue to build on the competitive relationships we have forged in Conference USA over the last seven years, while doing so as part of a league that will play a significantly greater role in an enhanced postseason lineup.
"It also achieves the desired goals for football without negatively impacting the rest of our student-athletes, who successfully balance the demands of their academic and athletic pursuits. They will not be asked to add additional travel requirements to the detriment of their studies. The mission of Rice remains to place our student-athletes in the best position to succeed in the classroom and in competition. "