CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Officials from the schools in the suddenly crowded Conference USA had many issues to work out, so their annual spring meetings in Destin, Fla., weren't exactly a day at the beach.
For the 2013-14 academic year, the league will number 16 teams. It will level off to 14 after this round of realignment finally runs its course, beginning in 2014-15.
With all those athletic directors, senior woman administrators, faculty athletics representatives and head coaches for men's and women's basketball and football in the same place, it's a wonder commissioner Britton Banowsky could get a word in edgewise.
But the meetings were organized enough to hash out several issues and send them to the league's presidents and chancellors, who meet June 10.
"We had an amazing week," Banowsky said. "Our members were focused and worked hard on policies and platforms to prioritize the things that will add to our success."
Men's basketball had some of the most pressing issues, and they have been resolved for this unusual season. In a scheduling change that didn't interest the majority of the previous membership, the conference will lean toward a Thursday-Saturday format, with "travel partners."
One part of the format had previously been decided - all teams will play each other once, and will play a "travel partner" home and home. This week, Marshall's travel partner was changed to North Carolina-Charlotte, closer than previously named Old Dominion.
MU athletic director Mike Hamrick approved.
"Charlotte is a much better travel partner," he said. "With our big alumni base there and the fact we have a Big Green event there, I feel good about it."
With the large number of teams, the format for the conference basketball tournaments - remember, the men's and women's events are played at the same time, in the same city - had to be re-examined. The league has brought a constant 12 teams, even when it had 14 before the 2005 realignment.
It was decided, however, that all 16 schools will come to El Paso, Texas. As before, the men will play at the Haskins Center and the women's early rounds at the nearby Memorial Gym.
The league is adopting the scheduling plan favored in recent years by the 16-team Big East, one stretching over five days. And, yes, the top four teams will earn that "double bye."