Announcement About FIU And UNT Expected Tomorrow

May 3, 2012 · By · Filed Under News, Sun Belt Conference 

A series of press conferences are expected tomorrow for schools who have been invited to join Conference USA. Sun Belt schools University of North Texas and Florida International are expected to join Charlotte, Texas-San Antonio and Louisiana Tech in announcing their acceptance of an invitation to join Conference USA. Old Dominion is currently studying a possible move to Conference-USA from FCS.

The potential division split in Conference USA could look something like this:

Eastern Division: UAB, Charlotte, East Carolina, FIU, Marshall and Southern Miss

Western Division: Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Rice, Texas-San Antonio, Tulane, Tulsa and UTEP

This leaves the Sun Belt with South Alabama, Arkansas-Little Rock, Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic, Georgia State, Middle Tennessee, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Texas State, Texas-Arlington, Troy and Western Kentucky. Of those 12 schools, Texas-Arlington and Arkansas-Little Rock do not have football programs. It was feared that along with FIU and UNT that it was possible that Middle Tennessee and FAU could also leave for C-USA.

So the Sun Belt will continue to look for at least two more schools who have football programs in order to round out a conference membership of 12 football-sponsoring schools in order to have a championship game.

But who are they looking at? Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson said on Wednesday that four to six FCS schools within the current Sun Belt geographic footprint have inquired about joining the conference. Those FCS that want to join FBS in 2013 must apply by June 1, 2012 in order to do so. However, Benson cautioned that the Sun Belt would only add schools if they thought it would improve the conference.

Two potential schools looking to move up to the FBS level would be Georgia Southern and Appalachian State. Some rumors going around the internet is that current WAC members New Mexico State and/or Idaho could join the conference. But Benson dismissed those as being “premature”. Denver University is leaving the conference this summer, much to the remaining schools delight, as travel to Denver was exhausting and costly. But adding New Mexico State and Idaho, even just for football, would be equally as detrimental.

A school that is possibly being overlooked for possible expansion is Lamar. Lamar has an enrollment of nearly 15,000 students, however their endowment according to Wikipedia is only $87 Million. But when I visited their campus in 2010 when they hosted South Alabama, it was a beautiful campus with some very nice facilities for the basketball and football programs. It would also give Texas State and in-state rival.



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