Since Conference USA was created in 1995 the league has had just two leaders: Mike Slive, who served as commissioner until 2002 before moving on to the SEC, and his replacement Britton Banowsky. Since taking over in 2002 Banowsky has been at the helm during a tumultuous period for the league, with its membership undergoing significant changes on two separate occasions thanks to conference realignment.
Thursday, Banowsky announced that he would be stepping down from his role as Conference USA commissioner, although he will remain on board until the conference presidents select his replacement. According to the release, Banowsky will serve as the Executive Director of the College Football Playoff Foundation.
“My time with Conference USA has been an experience of a lifetime. It has been an honor to serve these member institutions and this great conference, which is very well positioned for the future,” Banowsky said in the release. “The landscape has settled and these universities are all on the rise. They work very well together and the conference has tremendous leadership on each campus and within the conference office.”
For leagues such as Conference USA, realignment certainly took a toll. Since its inception in 1995, Conference USA has seen 16 members leave, with 11 programs (counting Charlotte, which was a charter member before leaving for the Atlantic 10 and returned to C-USA in 2013) having joined the conference since 2005.
At present time the conference has 14 full members. And given the ongoing changes in college sports when it comes to areas such as the change in the value of athletic scholarships (meeting the cost of attendance), whoever takes over for Banowsky will be faced with some challenges as the league moves forward.