Metro Conference

Last updated
Metro Conference
Metro Conference logo.gif
Association NCAA
Division Division I
Members7 (final), 13 (total)
Metro Conference-USA-states.png

The Metropolitan Collegiate Athletic Conference, popularly known as the Metro Conference, was an NCAA Division I athletics conference, so named because its six charter members were all in urban metropolitan areas, though its later members did not follow that pattern. The conference was centered in the Upper South with some strength in the Deep South. The conference never sponsored football, although most of its members throughout its history had Division I-A football programs (from 1983–91, all Metro schools had independent football programs). In 1995, it merged with the Great Midwest Conference to form Conference USA. The merger was driven mainly by football, as several Metro Conference members had been successfully lured to larger conferences that sponsored the sport.

National Collegiate Athletic Association Non-profit organization that regulates many American college athletes and programs

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a nonprofit organization which regulates student athletes from 1,268 North American institutions and conferences. It also organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and helps more than 480,000 college student-athletes who compete annually in college sports. The organization is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana.

NCAA Division I highest level of intercollegiate athletics sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association

NCAA Division I (D-I) is the highest level of intercollegiate athletics sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the United States. D-I schools include the major collegiate athletic powers, with larger budgets, more elaborate facilities and more athletic scholarships than Divisions II and III as well as many smaller schools committed to the highest level of intercollegiate competition.

Urban area Human settlement with high population density and infrastructure of built environment

An urban area or urban agglomeration, is a human settlement with high population density and infrastructure of built environment. Urban areas are created through urbanization and are categorized by urban morphology as cities, towns, conurbations or suburbs. In urbanism, the term contrasts to rural areas such as villages and hamlets and in urban sociology or urban anthropology it contrasts with natural environment. The creation of early predecessors of urban areas during the urban revolution led to the creation of human civilization with modern urban planning, which along with other human activities such as exploitation of natural resources leads to human impact on the environment.


The conference was popularly known as the "Metro 6" during its first season, then as the "Metro 7" during the rest of the 1970s and early 1980s. For most of its existence, it was considered a "major" conference.


The Metro Conference was founded in 1975 with institutions that were located in urban metropolitan areas. The charter members were the University of Cincinnati, Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Louisville, Memphis State University (now the University of Memphis), Saint Louis University and Tulane University. Florida State University joined in 1976.

University of Cincinnati public research university in Cincinnati, Ohio

The University of Cincinnati is a public research university in Cincinnati, Ohio. Founded in 1819 as Cincinnati College, it is the oldest institution of higher education in Cincinnati and has an annual enrollment of over 44,000 students, making it the second largest university in Ohio. It is part of the University System of Ohio.

Georgia Institute of Technology Public university in the United States

The Georgia Institute of Technology, commonly referred to as Georgia Tech, is a public research university and institute of technology in Atlanta, Georgia. It is part of the University System of Georgia and has satellite campuses in Savannah, Georgia; Metz, France; Athlone, Ireland; Shenzhen, China; and Singapore.

University of Louisville Public university in Kentucky

The University of Louisville is a public university in Louisville, Kentucky, a member of the Kentucky state university system. When founded in 1798, it was the first city-owned public university in the United States and one of the first universities chartered west of the Allegheny Mountains. The university is mandated by the Kentucky General Assembly to be a "Preeminent Metropolitan Research University". The university enrolls students from 118 of 120 Kentucky counties, all 50 U.S. states, and 116 countries around the world.

In 1978, Georgia Tech left the Metro for the Atlantic Coast Conference, effectively on July 1, 1979; and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University replaced its spot in 1979. In 1982, Saint Louis left to join the Midwestern Collegiate Conference, now known as the Horizon League; while the University of Southern Mississippi replaced its spot in that same year. The University of South Carolina later joined in 1983.

Atlantic Coast Conference American collegiate athletics conference

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is a collegiate athletic conference in the United States of America in which its fifteen member universities compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)'s Division I, with its football teams competing in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), the highest levels for athletic competition in US-based collegiate sports. The ACC sponsors competition in twenty-five sports with many of its member institutions' athletic programs held in high regard nationally. Current members of the conference are Boston College, Clemson University, Duke University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Florida State University, North Carolina State University, Syracuse University, the University of Louisville, the University of Miami, the University of North Carolina, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Virginia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and Wake Forest University.

Virginia Tech public research university with main campus in Blacksburg, Virginia

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, commonly known as Virginia Tech and by the initialisms VT and VPI, is a public, land-grant, research university with its main campus in Blacksburg, Virginia. It also has educational facilities in six regions statewide and a study-abroad site in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland. Through its Corps of Cadets ROTC program, Virginia Tech is also designated as one of six senior military colleges in the United States.

Horizon League collegiate athletic conference

The Horizon League is a 10-school collegiate athletic conference in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I, whose members are located in and near the Midwestern United States.

In 1991, Florida State joined the ACC, and then South Carolina joined the Southeastern Conference. However, South Carolina re-joined the Metro for 1993 and 1994 men's soccer seasons in that sport only, because the SEC did not (and still does not) offer the sport for men (four schools were required to sponsor a sport; the SEC had just three, now two). Charter members Cincinnati and Memphis State also left the Metro in 1991 to become charter members of the Great Midwest. To replace them, three of the stronger non-football schools from the Sun Belt Conference (the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the University of South Florida and Virginia Commonwealth University) shifted to the Metro.

Southeastern Conference College athletics conference of universities in the southern United States

The Southeastern Conference (SEC) is an American college athletic conference whose member institutions are located primarily in the South Central and Southeastern United States. Its fourteen members include the flagship public universities of eleven states, two additional public land grant universities, and one private research university. The conference is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. The SEC participates in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I in sports competitions; for football, it is part of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), formerly known as Division I-A.

Sun Belt Conference U.S. college sports conference

The Sun Belt Conference is a collegiate athletic conference that has been affiliated with the NCAA's Division I since 1976. Originally a non-football conference, the Sun Belt began sponsoring football in 2001. Its football teams participate in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The 12 member institutions of the Sun Belt are distributed primarily across the southern United States.

University of North Carolina at Charlotte public research university in Charlotte, North Carolina

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is a public research university in Charlotte, North Carolina. UNC Charlotte offers 23 doctoral, 64 master's, and 140 bachelor's degree programs through nine colleges: the College of Arts + Architecture, the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the Belk College of Business, the College of Computing and Informatics, the Cato College of Education, the William States Lee College of Engineering, the College of Health and Human Services, the Honors College, and the University College.

In 1993, the Metro and Great Midwest conferences began reunification talks that led to the creation of C-USA. However, the Virginia schools filed a lawsuit in order to prevent the merger from happening, which ultimately failed. VCU joined the Colonial Athletic Association. Virginia Tech (who was banking on an invitation to join the Big East Conference) was left out of Conference USA, and joined the Atlantic 10 Conference (it later joined the Big East in 2000 and is now in the Atlantic Coast Conference since 2004). It was joined by Great Midwest member Dayton, who was intrigued by the prospect of playing against regional rival Xavier.

Colonial Athletic Association US collegiate athletic conference

The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) is a collegiate athletic conference affiliated with the NCAA's Division I whose full members are located in East Coast states from Massachusetts to South Carolina. Most of its members are public universities, and the conference is headquartered in Richmond. The CAA was historically a Southern conference until the addition of four schools in the Northeast after the turn of the 21st century, which added balance to the conference.

Big East Conference (1979–2013) U.S. college athletic conference, 1979–2013

The Big East Conference was a collegiate athletics conference that consisted of as many as 16 universities in the eastern half of the United States from 1979 to 2013. The conference's members participated in 24 NCAA sports. The conference had a history of success at the national level in basketball throughout its history, while its shorter football program, created by inviting one college and four other "associate members" into the conference, resulted in two national championships.

Atlantic 10 Conference Collegiate athletic conference

The Atlantic 10 Conference (A-10) is a collegiate athletic conference whose schools compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Division I. The A-10's member schools are located in states mostly on the United States Eastern Seaboard, as well as some in the Midwest – Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Ohio, and Missouri as well as in the District of Columbia. Although some of its members are state-funded, half of its membership is made up of private, Catholic institutions. Despite the name, there are 14 full-time members, and two affiliate members that participate in women's field hockey only. The current commissioner is Bernadette McGlade, who began her tenure in 2008.

Initially, South Carolina was not permitted to participate in Conference USA for men's soccer, although it was admitted ten years later, also bringing along Kentucky, the only other men's soccer school in the SEC (coincidentally, Tulane was a longtime SEC member from 1932 until 1966).

South Carolina Gamecocks mens soccer mens soccer team of the University of South Carolina

The South Carolina Gamecocks men's soccer team represents the University of South Carolina and competes in Conference USA. The team has been coached by Mark Berson since its inception in 1978 and has participated in 20 NCAA Tournaments, reaching the Quarterfinals on four occasions. Since 1981, South Carolina has played its home games at Stone Stadium, which is affectionately called "The Graveyard" by South Carolina fans due to an adjoining cemetery.

Kentucky Wildcats mens soccer

The Kentucky Wildcats men's soccer team is an intercollegiate varsity sports team of the University of Kentucky.

Tulane University private research university in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Tulane University is a private research university in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was founded as a public medical college in 1834 and became a comprehensive university in 1847. The institution was made private under the endowments of Paul Tulane and Josephine Louise Newcomb in 1884. Tulane is the 9th oldest private university in the Association of American Universities, which consists of major research universities in the United States and Canada. The Tulane University Law School and Tulane University Medical School are considered the 12th oldest and 15th oldest law and medical schools, respectively, in the United States.

Proposed super conference

The Metro Conference also had studies into a new "Super conference" in 1990. The study was conducted by Raycom Sports. The conference would have included members of the Metro, Atlantic 10, and Big East conferences, but it was not clear if the conference would become a football-sponsoring conference as many of its members did in fact sponsor football but were either independents or belonged to other conferences. The original study plan also included Penn State. [1]

North DivisionSouth Division
Boston CollegeEast Carolina
CincinnatiFlorida State
RutgersMemphis State
TempleSouth Carolina
Virginia TechSouthern Mississippi
West VirginiaTulane


Charter members

University of Cincinnati** Bearcats Cincinnati, Ohio 1819Public41,35719751991
Georgia Institute of Technology Yellow Jackets Atlanta, Georgia 1885Public21,55719751978
University of Louisville** Cardinals Louisville, Kentucky 1798Public22,24919752005
Memphis State University**, 1 Tigers Memphis, Tennessee 1912Public22,36519751991
Saint Louis University** Billikens St. Louis, Missouri 1818Private (Roman Catholic)13,78519751982
Tulane University*, 2 Green Wave New Orleans, Louisiana 1834Private (Non-Sectarian)13,3591975,

Later members

Florida State University Seminoles Tallahassee, Florida 1851Public41,71019761991
Virginia Tech Hokies Blacksburg, Virginia 1872Public31,08719781995
University of Southern Mississippi* Golden Eagles Hattiesburg, Mississippi 1910Public17,9681982' N/A
University of South Carolina Gamecocks Columbia, South Carolina 1801Public30,9671983
University of North Carolina at Charlotte***, (NF: 2013; F: 2015) 49ers Charlotte, North Carolina 1961Public25,27719912005
University of South Florida**, (NF: 1996, F: 2003) Bulls Tampa, Florida 1956Public47,12219912005
Virginia Commonwealth University Rams Richmond, Virginia 1818Public31,89919911995

NF - Non-football school at the time but has since added football, first year of play listed.
* - Southern Mississippi remains in the reunified Conference USA for all sports.
** - School was charter member of Conference USA, but has since left for another conference. South Florida and Memphis are now members of the American Athletic Conference.
*** - School left Conference USA, but has since returned. Charlotte was one of C-USA's charter members but left in 2005 to join Saint Louis in the Atlantic 10 Conference. After announcing football to begin play in 2013, Charlotte rejoined C-USA in all sports except football, which underwent a two-year transitional membership. The school began football play in 2015 but was only conditionally eligible for postseason play that year.

1 - Prior to adopting its current name in 1994, the University of Memphis was previously known as Memphis State University.
2 - From 1985 through 1989, Tulane dropped its men's basketball program after a point shaving scandal and was expelled from the conference. It was re-admitted in 1989 when it re-instated men's basketball.
3 - After leaving the Metro Conference in 1991, South Carolina played two seasons as an independent in men's soccer, as the Southeastern Conference does not sponsor men's soccer. They rejoined the Metro for the sport only in 1993, but was not invited as part of reunification. When the program rejoined C-USA in 2005, Kentucky, the other remaining SEC school with men's soccer, left the Mid-American Conference to follow their SEC brethren.

Membership timeline

Atlantic 10 ConferenceColonial Athletic AssociationVirginia Commonwealth UniversityBig East ConferenceConference USAUniversity of South FloridaConference USAAtlantic 10 ConferenceConference USAUniversity of North Carolina at CharlotteSoutheastern ConferenceSoutheastern ConferenceUniversity of South CarolinaConference USAUniversity of Southern MississippiAtlantic Coast ConferenceAmerican Athletic ConferenceAtlantic 10 ConferenceVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityAtlantic Coast ConferenceFlorida State UniversityAmerican Athletic ConferenceConference USAPoint shavingTulane UniversityAtlantic Coast ConferenceBig East ConferenceConference USAUniversity of LouisvilleAmerican Athletic ConferenceConference USAGreat Midwest ConferenceUniversity of MemphisBig East ConferenceConference USAGreat Midwest ConferenceUniversity of CincinnatiAtlantic 10 ConferenceConference USAGreat Midwest ConferenceHorizon LeagueSaint Louis UniversityAtlantic Coast ConferenceGeorgia Institute of TechnologyMetro Conference


1. Because the Southeastern Conference does not sponsor men's soccer, South Carolina was an independent from 1991-92, rejoined the Metro for the 1993 and 1994 men's soccer seasons, played as an independent after reunification (1995-2004), and rejoined the reunified C-USA in 2005 for the sport only.
2. The American Athletic Conference was known as the Big East until the 2013 breakup. Schools in the Big East at the end of the 2012-13 season remained in The American Athletic Conference did not change conferences.
3. Southern Mississippi is the only school from the Metro to have been a Conference USA member every year since reunification in 1995. Charlotte (left in 2005, rejoined except football, 2013-15, all sports 2016) and South Carolina (men's soccer, 2005-present) have had time off but are currently in post-reunification Conference USA. Football was added after reunification at Charlotte.


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  1. Smith, Michael (26 September 2011). "History lesson: Super-conference concept rooted in 1990 proposal". Sports Business Daily . Street and Smith's Sports Group . Retrieved 27 May 2013.