Georgia State To Join Sun Belt In Announcement Monday
Brett McMurphy of CBS Sports is reporting that the Sun Belt and Georgia State University is set to announce they will join the Conference in 2013 at a press conference scheduled for 2pm at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. This comes a week after Sun Belt presidents voted via teleconference to extend an invitation to Georgia State and talks with the school.
Georgia State, a former member of the Sun Belt, has spend the past seven seasons playing in the Colonial Athletic Association. This announcement also comes one day before the CAA Conference is set to vote on substantially raising the exit fee for member schools. Reports are this will raise the fee from $250,000 to “at least one million.”
While all sports excluding football could play in SBC beginning in 2013, it would be 2014 before the football team would be able to begin play in the conference, as a full member, due to NCAA rules. However their 2013 schedule would consist of a full Sun Belt schedule as a transitional team, like South Alabama will be in 2012.
Georgia State has a June 1st deadline to declare if they will be playing in FCS or FBS.
GSU will mark the first major change to the Sun Belt Conference under new commissioner Karl Benson. Benson, formerly the commissioner of the Western Athletic Conference, replaced Wright Waters as commissioner on March 15.
The addition of GSU as a football member will push the conference to 11 schools with football. The NCAA requires conferences to have 12 football playing members in order to have a conference championship game. However the conference is also potentially facing the loss of three institutions as the Mountain West Conference and Conference-USA are looking to merge into a new conference with a target of up to 24 schools. The schools that are in talks are Florida International, Florida Atlantic and North Texas.
Benson is reportedly in talks with other schools as possible new members. Charlotte and Texas-San Antonio continue to be top contenders for potential membership in the Sun Belt with rumors of potential interest by Lamar and Texas State.
UPDATED: As soon as I posted this Kevin McGuire posted that UT-San Antonio has met with MWC/C-USA about possibly joining the conference. The UT-SA board of regents have called a special meeting for Thursday, April 12th but it is unknown what the agenda of the meeting will be.