2010-13 Sun Belt Conference Realignment
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2010%E2%80%9313 Sun Belt Conference Realignment
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The 2010-13 Sun Belt Conference realignment refers to the Sun Belt Conference dealing with several proposed and actual conference expansion and reduction plans among various NCAA conferences and institutions from 2010 to 2013.

Background

The Sun Belt Conference had seen little effect from the first several rounds of realignment, with the only change being the loss of non-football member Denver to the WAC. Although South Alabama had announced it would establish an FBS football program and join the Sun Belt football league in 2012, this move was finalized before the Big Ten and Pac-10 set the realignment process into motion.

However, reports emerged in March 2012 that the conference considered Charlotte and UTSA "leading candidates" for expansion, and had entered into talks with both schools. One source indicated that both had received informal invitations.[1] In another significant move, the Sun Belt replaced its commissioner Wright Waters, who retired on March 15, with WAC commissioner Karl Benson.[2]

The Sun Belt's first official move, however, involved neither Charlotte nor UTSA. Instead, CBSSports.com reported on April 3 that conference presidents had voted to extend an invitation to Georgia State University, then a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, effective in 2013.[3] Four days later, it was reported that Georgia State had accepted the invitation, and that the move would officially be announced on April 9. As a part of this move, the school will move its football program from FCS to FBS, play a full conference schedule in 2013, and become a full FBS member in 2014.[2]

The timing of Georgia State's move was no coincidence. The CAA was set to vote on April 10 to increase its exit fee from $250,000 to at least $1 million.[2] Also, the NCAA has a deadline of June 1 for Division I FCS schools to announce the start of a transition to FBS.[2]

On May 2, the Sun Belt and Texas State announced that the Bobcats would leave the WAC after only one season and join the Sun Belt in 2013.[4] Benson implied that the Sun Belt's invitation to Texas State was in part driven by the then-rumored departure of North Texas to Conference USA:

"It was important that we remain in the state of Texas, and Texas State certainly does that, regardless of what happens with the University of North Texas."[5]

At that time, it was reported by Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson that it would be his goal to expand the SBC to 12 teams in order to sponsor a conference championship game.

The Sun Belt then announced on May 23 that UT Arlington, at the time a non-football school in the Southland Conference that was set to join the WAC that July, had accepted an invitation to join the Sun Belt in 2013. The move became official the following day, after approval by the University of Texas Board of Regents.[6] Also on May 23, Benson categorically stated that the Sun Belt would not expand beyond 10 football members--a move that could have forced Idaho and New Mexico State, the only two football programs remaining in the WAC beyond 2012, to drop to FCS football.[7]

On November 28, 2012, Conference USA added current Sun Belt members Middle Tennessee State and Florida Atlantic, later announcing the two would join that conference in 2013.

On March 27, 2013, the Sun Belt announced the addition of four more members, two in all sports and two for football only, in 2014. Appalachian State and Georgia Southern will begin FBS transitions in 2013, join the Sun Belt in 2014, and become full FBS members in 2015. After the WAC dropped football, Idaho, a former football-only Sun Belt member, and New Mexico State, formerly an all-sports member, will both return for football after one season as FBS independents.

On September 1, 2015, the Sun Belt announced the addition of Coastal Carolina as a full member effective 2016 for all sports except football. For football, Coastal Carolina will begin its FBS transition in 2016, join the conference in 2017, and become bowl-eligible in 2018.[8]

On March 1, 2016, the Sun Belt announced that it would not renew the associate memberships of Idaho and New Mexico State for football after the 2017 FBS season.[9]

Membership changes

School Sport(s) Former conference New conference Date move was announced Expected year move takes effect
Denver Pioneers Full membership (non-football) Sun Belt WAC November 10, 2010 2012[10]
Georgia State Panthers Full membership CAA Sun Belt April 9, 2012 2013[11]
Texas State Bobcats Full membership WAC[12] Sun Belt May 2, 2012 2013[4]
FIU Panthers Full membership Sun Belt C-USA May 4, 2012 2013[13]
North Texas Mean Green Full membership Sun Belt C-USA May 4, 2012 2013[13]
UT Arlington Mavericks Full membership (non-football) WAC[12] Sun Belt May 24, 2012 2013
Florida Atlantic Owls Full membership Sun Belt C-USA November 29, 2012[14] 2013[15]
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Full membership Sun Belt C-USA November 29, 2012[14] 2013[15]
Appalachian State Mountaineers Full membership SoCon Sun Belt March 27, 2013 2014[16][17]
Georgia Southern Eagles Full membership SoCon Sun Belt March 27, 2013 2014[17][18]
Idaho Vandals Football Independent Sun Belt March 27, 2013 2014[19]
New Mexico State Aggies Football Independent Sun Belt March 27, 2013 2014[19]
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and Lady Toppers Full membership Sun Belt C-USA April 1, 2013 2014[20]
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers Full membership Big South Sun Belt September 1, 2015 2016 (all sports except football)
2017 (football)[8]
Idaho Vandals Football Sun Belt Big Sky March 1, 2016 2018[9]
New Mexico State Aggies Football Sun Belt Independent March 1, 2016 2018[9]

See also

References

  1. ^ McMurphy, Brett (March 13, 2012). "Charlotte, Texas-San Antonio 'leading candidates' for Sun Belt". College Football Insider. CBSSports.com. Retrieved 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d McMurphy, Brett (April 7, 2012). "Sun Belt adding Georgia State". College Football Insider. CBSSports.com. Retrieved 2012.
  3. ^ McMurphy, Brett (April 3, 2012). "Sun Belt votes to add Georgia State". College Football Insider. CBSSports.com. Retrieved 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Texas State to Join Sun Belt Conference". Sun Belt Conference (Press release). Sun Belt Conference. 2012-05-02. Archived from the original on 2012-05-12. Retrieved .
  5. ^ Associated Press (May 2, 2012). "Texas State joining Sun Belt". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2012.
  6. ^ "Sun Belt Notes Strength; UT Arlington to Join League in 2013" (Press release). Sun Belt Conference. May 23, 2012. Archived from the original on May 27, 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  7. ^ Hinnen, Jerry (May 23, 2012). "Sun Belt won't add Idaho, New Mexico St.; FCS the next step?". Eye on College Football. CBSSports.com. Retrieved 2012.
  8. ^ a b Associated Press (2015-09-01). "Coastal Carolina joining Sun Belt". espn.com. Retrieved .
  9. ^ a b c "Sun Belt Football to be 10 Teams in 2018". Sun Belt Conference. Retrieved 2016.
  10. ^ Associated Press (November 11, 2010). "WAC officially adding Denver, Texas St., Texas-San Antonio - ESPN". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on 13 November 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  11. ^ McMurphy, Brett (April 17, 2012). "Conference Mountain West merger "unlikely"". College Football Insider. CBSSports.com. Retrieved 2012.
  12. ^ a b At the time Texas State and UT Arlington announced their moves to the Sun Belt Conference, they were still members of the Southland Conference. The two schools did not join the WAC until July 1, 2012.
  13. ^ a b "Conference USA Adds Five New Members" (Press release). Conference USA. May 4, 2012. Archived from the original on May 10, 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  14. ^ a b "Conference USA Adds Middle Tennessee and Florida Atlantic" (Press release). Conference USA. November 28, 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  15. ^ a b When C-USA initially announced the entry of Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee, it stated that the two schools would join no later than July 2014. On January 22, 2013, it announced that the two schools would instead join in July 2013. "Middle Tennessee & Florida Atlantic to Join Conference USA in 2013" (Press release). Conference USA. January 22, 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  16. ^ "Appalachian State to Join Sun Belt Conference in 2014" (Press release). Sun Belt Conference. March 27, 2013. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  17. ^ a b Appalachian State and Georgia Southern will begin FBS transitions in 2013. Both will be eligible for the Sun Belt football championship in 2014, but will not be eligible for postseason bowl games until 2015.
  18. ^ "Georgia Southern to Join Sun Belt Conference in 2014" (Press release). Sun Belt Conference. March 27, 2013. Archived from the original on July 3, 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  19. ^ a b "Idaho and New Mexico State to Join Sun Belt Conference As Football members in 2014" (Press release). Sun Belt Conference. March 27, 2013. Archived from the original on July 3, 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  20. ^ "WKU Enters Athletic Membership Agreement with Conference USA Beginning July 1, 2014" (Press release). Western Kentucky University Athletics. April 1, 2013. Archived from the original on April 6, 2013. Retrieved 2013.

External links


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