I caught a bit of this in the IHT earlier this week (thankfully, both our B&B and the hotel in Paris had this lifeline for me), but the story has advanced since the last I'd read of it. Apparently, the falling conference dominoes will result in Rice rejoining some traditional rivals in Conference USA.
Rice, a member of the Western Athletic Conference since 1996, will be invited to join C-USA along with fellow WAC schools Tulsa and SMU in the near future, and sources say Rice will accept. Marshall and Central Florida of the Mid-American Conference will also get invitations.
By joining C-USA, Rice and SMU would be reunited with former Southwest Conference foes Houston and TCU. Rice competed in the SWC from 1914 until the league broke up in 1996.
The four Texas schools would join Tulsa and current C-USA member Tulane in a six-team Western Division that would ease travel burdens and perhaps promote regional rivalries.
The Eastern Division would include Memphis, Southern Mississippi, East Carolina, Alabama-Birmingham, Central Florida and Marshall. Saint Louis and Charlotte, current C-USA non-football members, reportedly will join the Atlantic 10.