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  1. “In every key indicator that can be used to evaluate the strength of a conference, the Sun Belt has risen in recent years,” Benson said. “In contrast to some leagues, our attendance is up and we’ve provided record end-of-year distribution to our schools that is 10 times greater that it was in 2014.” n 2013, the Sun Belt Conference – along with a few other conferences – were forced to make drastic changes in their alignment. The Sun Belt lost Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Middle Tennessee State, Western Kentucky and North Texas. In 2014, the Sun Belt went into action, bringing in five new teams including Georgia Southern, Texas State, Appalachian State and Georgia State to fill the void. Over the next few seasons, the Sun Belt was widely believed to be towards the bottom of the “group of five” Conferences, which includes the Conference USA, American, Mid-American and Mountain West conferences in addition to the Sun Belt. That is no longer the case. Benson believes the conference has quickly climbed the ranks within the Group of Five. “The Sun Belt was labeled so long at the bottom of the 10 conferences and that is no longer the case,” Benson said. “We’ve established the brand, established the credibility. As we compete with our four peer conferences, our goal remains the same: to be the highest-rated league in the group of five and send our team to one of the New Year’s Day games. There’s no reason we can’t do that and do it this year.” read more: https://www.troymessenger.com/2018/07/24/the-sun-belt-conference-continues-to-rise-within-the-group-of-five/
  2. Sun Belt Conference commissioner Karl Benson wants the league's football programs to work on shedding their "addiction" to big-money, non-conference matchups with heavily favored, Power Five programs. More non-league games with "peer conferences" would improve the chances of a Sun Belt team going unbeaten and getting a bid to one of six prestigious New Year's Day bowl games, the commissioner said at the conference's media day Monday. "As nice as it is and as great as it is to win a game against one of the 'Big Five' — I don't want to minimize that — but right now, in the system that we have, competition with our peer conferences is so important," Benson said. "Those are the games that we really need to focus on." This season, the combined schedules of the Sun Belt's 11 teams include 35 non-conference games against the other nine conferences classified in the NCAA's Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. Of those, 19 are against so-called "Power Five" teams in the ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Pac 12 and Big 12. The other 16 are against teams from Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the American Athletic Conference and the Mountain West Conference. "The Sun Belt's goal is to be the best conference of our four peer conferences," Benson said. But giving up big-money games will be harder for some Sun Belt institutions than others, apparently. read more: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article27912436.html Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article27912436.html#storylink=cpy
  3. FINANCIAL FACTOR Then there is the financial factor. The champion from the five remaining conferences has a chance to earn a much larger payout than most of the leagues would have received under the current BCS structure. For Benson, the idea of a four-team playoff also means better opportunities for a team outside of the Power 5 conferences to get a shot at the national title. “The new system will provide even greater opportunity to crack the top four,’’ Benson said pointing out that Boise State, TCU and Houston were in the mix a few seasons ago. The new system has its drawbacks for those outside the Power 5. The American, which had greater access when its members were competing under the Big East name, was among the hardest hit. The league has lost automatic invitations to the Pinstripe and Belk bowls. It may lose the Russell Athletic Bowl as well. So far, the American has only locked in deals with the Compass Bowl in Birmingham and the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl in St. Petersburg. However, the American’s bowl-eligible teams should still find postseason homes because the Power 5 leagues likely have enough eligible teams to honor all agreements. “Obviously, we’d like to be in some of those games, but we have some ability to play in bowl games and new games in destinations where our teams and coaches want to go, so our bowl lineup will be fine,’’ Aresco adds pointing out that his league will have opportunities to play teams from the ACC, SEC, Big 12 and possibly the Pac-12. Conference USA has also taken hits, with the league apparently losing the Liberty Bowl, which will now feature matchups from the Big 12 and SEC. In addition to signing alternate agreements, the conferences are exploring new bowl venues. The leagues have had discussions with groups from Los Angeles; Montgomery, Ala.; Little Rock, Ark.; Boca Raton; and Orlando about launching new postseason games. Read more at Jacksonville.com: http://jacksonville.com/sports/college/2013-07-10/story/new-bowl-system-will-increase-access-small-conferences#ixzz2Yi2djyzK
  4. MOBILE, Alabama - Realignment has dominated Karl Benson's short time as commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference and the subject continues to dominate conversations involving the league today. The Sun belt has lost four members - North Texas, Florida International, Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee - to Conference USA and a fifth member, Western Kentucky, will join C-USA after the upcoming athletic season. Benson and the Sun Belt did not sit idly by as these changes took place, filling gaps by adding Georgia State and Texas State this season and Texas- Arlington (which does not field a football team). Georgia Southern and Appalachian State will join the league when they have gone through a two-year transition from NCAA Football Championship Subdivision to Football Bowl Subdivision status. The league has also added New Mexico State and Idaho as football-only members and it is expected to announce at some point, though there is no immediate timetable, the addition of another new member so that the conference will have 12 football-playing members for the 2015 season. Having 12 football-playing teams allows the league to go to divisional play and institute a conference championship game. Read more and watch video: http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2013/05/realignment_continues_to_domin.html
  5. MURFREESBORO — To understand the precarious position of MTSU’s administration in conference realignment, look no further than the university’s communications on two fronts amid recent league shifts. Emails obtained through a DNJ open records request reveal that MTSU president Sidney McPhee participated in talks to further the Sun Belt Conference’s realignment interests in late April while athletic director Chris Massaro simultaneously hosted Conference USA representatives in scouting visits to MTSU’s campus. Those two-sided meetings were apparent in emails sent and received by McPhee and Massaro in March, April and May, as obtained by an open records request and featured in a DNJ report in May on MTSU’s efforts to join C-USA. With MTSU’s future conference affiliation still possibly unsettled, new Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson said he wants the Blue Raiders to not only stay put, but help lead the league into the next era. “All conferences have a flagship, a flagbearer that is apparent over time,” Benson said. “You always need that flagship, and Middle Tennessee has demonstrated that it can be that school.” MTSU’s annual athletic budget of $21 million is around the highest in the Sun Belt, especially with the 2013 announced departures of North Texas ($22.4 million) and Florida International ($24.6 million) to C-USA. Read more: http://www.lohud.com/article/D4/20120708/SPORTS/307080047/Sun-Belt-commissioner-Blue-Raiders-flagship-conference?odyssey=nav|head
  6. Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/05/21/3976625/uta-packing-bags-for-sun-belt.html#storylink=cpy'>http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/05/21/3976625/uta-packing-bags-for-sun-belt.html#storylink=cpy read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2012/05/21/3976625/uta-packing-bags-for-sun-belt.html
  7. read more: http://www.theadvertiser.com/article/20120505/SPORTS/205050340/SBC-monitoring-conference-shifts
  8. Texas Arlington plans to accept an invitation to join the Sun Belt Conference, pending the approval of the school's board of regents, a source said. The Mavericks, coming from the Southland Conference, will join Texas State and Georgia State as new members of the Sun Belt, which lost North Texas and Florida International to Conference USA this week. UT Arlington does not play football, although the school intends to explore building a football program after completing an upgrade of the baseball and softball facilities. Read more: http://espn.go.com/dallas/ncf/story/_/id/7891047/texas-arlington-mavericks-moving-sun-belt-source-says
  9. SAN MARCOS, Texas - The Sun Belt Conference announced today that Texas State will join the league on July 1, 2013 and will begin conference competition for the 2013-14 academic year. "Texas State University has worked very hard to be ready for FBS competition and joining the Sun Belt Conference represents a new opportunity for our future," said Texas State University President Denise M. Trauth. "The Sun Belt's record of competitive success over more than 35 years provides a tradition of excellence that we are happy to join. Our students and alumni will bring a very strong fan base that will welcome these new opportunities. Just as Texas State is the rising star of Texas, we believe that the Sun Belt is also on the rise and we are happy to be a part of its future." "On behalf of the presidents and chancellors of the Sun Belt Conference, it is my honor to welcome Texas State University as the newest member of our league family," said Sun Belt Conference Executive Committee President and Troy University Chancellor Jack Hawkins, Jr. "We are not the same conference we were 10 years ago. The Sun Belt is strong athletically as demonstrated by the fact that our bowl record over the last eight years is better than five other BCS conferences. We are stronger academically, as 90 percent of our teams have achieved an Academic Progress Rates of 925 or higher. Texas State is an excellent addition to our strong, growing conference." Texas State, located in San Marcos between Austin and San Antonio, is home to over 34,000 students and officially opened its doors in 1903. Notably, Texas State is the only university in Texas to have graduated a U.S. president: Lyndon B. Johnson, class of 1930. Read more: http://www.sunbeltsp...TCLID=205422758
  10. Even before Texas State played its debut season in the Western Athletic Conference, the Bobcats have agreed to join the Sun Belt in 2013, industry sources told CBSSports.com. The Bobcats will be one of two new Sun Belt members in 2013 along with Georgia State, which is leaving the Colonial Athletic Association. The addition of Texas State and Georgia State is to offset the losses of North Texas and Florida International, which CBSSports.com reported are moving to Conference USA in 2013. The Sun Belt also is expected to add Texas-Arlington, which will compete in the WAC in 2012, as an Olympic sports member, giving the Sun Belt 10 football schools in 2013 and 12 overall members, including Arkansas-Little Rock and Texas-Arlington. Other schools that could join the Sun Belt in the coming years include Appalachian State, Georgia Southern and Old Domininon. However, ODU and Charlotte could be headed to Conference USA. Read More: http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/blog/brett-mcmurphy/18911274/texas-state-utarlington-to-sun-belt-in-2013
  11. The WAC could be in its final year as a football conference. The Salt Lake Tribune is reporting Utah State is headed to the Mountain West as is San Jose State to replace Boise State and San Diego State, who are leaving for the Big East after this season. The report also said Louisiana Tech is going to Conference USA joining Texas-San Antonio, which is voting on the move to C-USA this week. UTSA joins the WAC this season, but was one of the additions back in Nov. 2010. The move leaves Idaho, New Mexico State and Texas State as the remaining football-playing schools in the conference. Boise State, Denver and Seattle are non-football members. Texas State also could be on its way out if the Sun Belt loses a school to Conference USA and the Sun Belt adds the Bobcats to keep a foot in Texas. Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson told Vandal Nation: "I don't expect Texas State will be without a place to play football." If all of the reported teams leave, the WAC will be in an almost impossible position. It's already tried to court several teams from the FCS ranks and has consistently been turned down. Last summer, Big Sky commissioner Doug Fullerton said his conference was a better option than the WAC and the way the conference has fallen apart, he wasn't wrong. Read more: http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaaf-dr-saturday/wac-life-support-remaining-members-weigh-options-194742091.html
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