By STEVE REED, Associated Press
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Charlotte 49ers are heading back to Conference USA.
Two people familiar with the situation say the 49ers are leaving the Atlantic 10 and rejoining Conference USA for the 2013-14 season.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because an announcement has not yet been made. The university has scheduled a Friday news conference.
The 49ers were in Conference USA from 1995 to 2005 but had to leave because they didn't have a football team. They joined the Atlantic 10 and will spend next year there before making the switch.
The decision is one that is clearly football driven.
Charlotte is building a new on-campus stadium and begins playing football in 2013 as an FCS independent and will remain at that level for two years. Providing it can meet NCAA attendance standards, it will be allowed to move up to an FBS school in 2015-16. The 49ers football program is still in the start-up phase. It will practice this fall with their incoming freshman class — all to be redshirted — but not begin play until 2013.
Charlotte's first game is scheduled for Aug. 31, 2013, at home against Campbell.
Charlotte 49ers football coach Brad Lambert, men's basketball Alan Major and women's basketball Cara Consuegra are scheduled to attend the press conference along with chancellor Phil Dubois, athletic director Judy Rose and board of trustees chair Gene Johnson, according to a press release issued by the school.
This week, the Atlantic 10 announced the addition of Butler.
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