Conference USA and Sun Belt Contracts extended

NEW ORLEANS - The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl announced this week the signing of four year contract extensions with both Conference USA and the Sun Belt Conference, guaranteeing both Division I football conferences an invitation to the New Orleans Bowl through the 2013 football season.

Bowl Chairman Paul Valteau recognized the importance of the renewals, and worked with the staff to secure both four year deals. "We are excited about extending our partnership with both of our current conference partners through 2013. The appeal and proximity of New Orleans to the fan bases of Conference USA and Sun Belt universities makes this an attractive relationship. In addition, the student-athletes, coaches, and administrators from both participants have represented themselves, their universities and their conferences with a high level of dignity and class."

The Sun Belt Conference champion has earned an invitation to the Bowl since 2001. "The Sun Belt Conference is proud to have been a part of the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl since its inception and we strongly feel that this bowl game is getting better and better every season.  This game and the city of New Orleans provide a great experience for our fans and we are excited to carry on our partnership for the next four years," said Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Wright Waters.

Conference USA first signed on as a Bowl partner in 2002, as has since been represented by competitive and regionally attractive teams, including Rice and multiple appearances from Memphis and Southern Miss. "Our relationship with the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl has been great and we are excited to carry it into the next decade. Our teams and fans have always been treated to a fantastic time by the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation at the game and within the community. We look forward to some outstanding games over the next several years," said Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky.

Teams from both Conference USA and the Sun Belt Conference have competed in the New Orleans Bowl since 2002, following the inaugural game.  Since the tradition began, Conference USA leads the seven game series 4-3. Most recently, the 2008 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl featured a 30-27 overtime win by Southern Miss over Troy.

Televised live on ESPN, the 2009 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl will be played on Sunday, December 20th in the Louisiana Superdome. Kickoff is set for 7:15 p.m. (CT).