Kansas Rowing to Compete in First Conference USA Championship

May 3, 2010

LAWERNCE, Kan.—The University of Kansas rowing team has joined Conference USA as an affiliate member, and will compete in the inaugural Conference USA Championship at the South-Central Regional Championships in Oak Ridge, Tenn., on May 15 and 16.

Kansas joins the three other Big 12 rowing schools – Kansas State, Oklahoma and Texas – along with Tennessee and Alabama from the SEC, and Tulsa, SMU and Central Florida from Conference USA. The order of finish for the Conference USA Championship this season will be decided by the finish of the nine Conference USA teams competing at the South-Central Regional.

Rowing is the only team sport that does not currently have automatic qualifying (AQ) for the NCAA Championship. The NCAA will not institute automatic qualifying for the NCAA Rowing Championship until at least 2013. A conference must contain at least six schools and hold two conference championships before it can qualify for automatic qualification into an NCAA Championship.

“Right now, potentially, we have the 2010 Conference USA Championship as the first year,” said University of Kansas head coach Rob Catloth, “2011 would be the second year. We actually would be eligible in 2012, but it will be at least 2013 before conference champions can automatically qualify for the NCAA rowing championship.”

The Big 12 and SEC schools will be affiliate members of Conference USA in rowing only, and the Big 12 will continue to conduct a rowing championship every year.

“One of the conditions of our doing this was that we did not want to lose the Big 12 moniker,” said Catloth.

Currently teams from the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Conference USA and SEC compete annually at the South-Central Regional. Beginning in the spring of 2011 the Big Ten will host its own conference championship the same weekend as the South-Central Regional and the Conference USA Championship will consist of only the nine Conference USA teams.

“This is probably the last year for the south central race,” Catloth said. “Already the Big Ten is pulling out because their conference championship is going to be that weekend. Everybody likes that weekend because it is usually two weeks before the NCAA Championship. Conference USA will move our championship to that weekend too.”

“Our participation in the Conference USA Championship is a great opportunity for our program,” said KU Athletics Director Lew Perkins. “The ultimate goal is to reach the NCAA Championships, and competing in the Conference USA Championship is a step in that direction.”