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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. http://pilotonline.com/sports/college/ol...abcf2.html Regional realignment will be driven by finances. Not a matter of if but when.
  3. President and chancellors from Sun Belt Conference schools will meet Sunday in Dallas to vote on extending a possible membership invitation, it’s been learned. It’s known that Coastal Carolina and Eastern Kentucky have been under consideration, and that current football-only member New Mexico State remains a candidate for full-fledged membership. All three schools were paid on-campus visits by Sun Belt reps at some point earlier this year, including two this month. Seventy-five percent approval is required to issue an invite, however, so it’s also possible that no bid will go out. What criteria are considered could impact any favorable vote. Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson said when the league held its annual football Media Day last month in New Orleans that the membership matter is “no longer a football issue.” It once was, as prior focus for some had been on getting to 12 teams for football so that the conference could stage a revenue-generating football title game. “As we now go forward, and expecting that the NCAA will roll back the policy that requires 12 teams to do a conference football championship game,” Benson said, “we are no longer driven by a football championship game when it comes to our future membership. We now need to focus on what is in the best interest of our other sports.” Basketball and other SBC programs do not currently play balanced schedules. read more: http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/sports/college/ul/2015/08/28/sbc-schools-vote-extending-membership-invitation/71349570/ Sun Belt identifies Coastal Carolina, Eastern Kentucky for expansionThe Sun Belt Conference has enough internal support to add a 12th member and has focused its search on current Football Championship Subdivision members Coastal Carolina and Eastern Kentucky, a person with knowledge of the conversations told USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter is supposed to be private. A decision on which school to add and formal vote should come within the next few weeks, if not days. The Sun Belt's current plan is to add one of the two, but not both. "They have enough votes," the person said. "They have already visited the campuses. read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/sunbelt/2015/08/28/conference-expansion-coastal-carolina-eastern-kentucky/71322494/
  4. 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
  5. TROY, Ala. – The Sun Belt Conference ended its annual spring meetings of presidents, athletic directors and basketball coaches on Tuesday in nearby Montgomery, Ala., having reached no definitive conclusion regarding whether or not it will invite a new member to join the league. According to a statement from conference, “discussion did include the potential for additional membership and expansion, but Sun Belt officials will not have further comment on the subject.” It’s believed the Sun Belt, which is looking to add one more program, is waiting to learn the fate of Alabama-Birmingham before making any firm decision regarding membership. UAB will soon decide whether to reinstate its football program, which it recently shut down. If the Blazers do not reinstate football and are booted from Conference USA as a result, it’s believed they would consider the Missouri Valley Conference and the Sun Belt as possible landing spots for their other sports program. Read more: http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/sports/college/ul/2015/05/19/sun-belt-may-waiting-uab/27625221/
  6. When conference realignment was in full-fledged zaniness a couple of years back, UL — its facilities aging, its athletic budget not nearly as high as many NCAA Division I football programs — didn't feel especially ready to make a jump out of the Sun Belt Conference. Conference USA — which wound up adding former Sun Belt members North Texas, Middle Tennessee, Florida Atlantic and Florida International, and as of Tuesday will add ex-SBC member Western Kentucky to its roster as well — didn't give the Ragin' Cajuns much of a sniff. But now UL's budget has climbed to the $18-plus million range, and the school is in the early stages of a $115 million athletic facilities masterplan intended to produce major renovation to its football, baseball and track-and-field/soccer facilities, among others. And the nationwide movement that was once frantic has come to almost a screeching halt, something at least one Ragin' Cajuns leader doesn't necessarily see as a bad thing. Read more: http://www.theadvertiser.com/story/sports/college/ul/2014/06/27/cajuns-conference-alignment-matter-timing/11555017/
  7. The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl announced today the signing of six-year contract extensions with both Conference USA and the Sun Belt Conference. This will guarantee both Division I football conferences invitations to the New Orleans Bowl through the 2019 football season. Executive Director of the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Billy Ferrante, worked diligently with both conference staffs to secure the new deals. "We are thrilled to have the Sun Belt Conference and Conference USA extend their contracts with our game. This showcases the growth that the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl has had over the past 12 years, and we look forward to the next six years of working with these two conferences to create a one of a kind experience for the student-athletes, coaches and University administrations." A Sun Belt Conference representative has earned an invitation to the bowl since 2001, and Louisiana’s Ragin Cajuns have been the bowl Champion for the past two years. Bowl officials will be granted the first selection of a bowl-eligible Sun Belt team each season. Read more: http://www.nola.com/nobowl/index.ssf/2013/08/the_rl_carriers_new_orleans_bo.html
  8. DRAWING A CROWD: The two biggest media huddles during the scheduled interviews Monday were gathered around the UL Lafayette and Western Kentucky tables. The Cajun gathering made sense. UL Lafayette is the closest Sun Belt school to New Orleans, head coach Mark Hudspeth was first on the podium and gave everyone in the meeting room something to do when he began, and his Cajuns have won back-to-back bowl games right there in the 'Dome in the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. The WKU crowd gathered for a team that went 7-6 last year, lost three of its last four and saw a hugely-promising season go sideways in a series of close losses despite getting to its first bowl game. Of course, that team is now coached by Bobby Petrino, who's hoping to make a splash in his only year in the Sun Belt. "This is our one and only year in, and our goal is to win the conference," Petrino said without any overemphasis during his interview session. "As we build this program, we want to go to a bowl game every year and win the bowl game and then be conference champions." Conference championships after this year will come somewhere else. WKU is jumping ship after this season and moving into a re-tooled Conference-USA in 2014, joining a gaggle of other former Sun Belt teams that will compete in C-USA this year. It'll almost be news if the Hilltoppers don't get a bowl bid. Petrino went to seven in eight years as a Division I coach on the way to a 75-26 record at Louisville and Arkansas, both of whom he took to BCS games. Had he not wrecked his motorcycle with his fellow athletic staff member/mistress on the back seat 15 months ago, and then engaged in what the Arkansas hierarchy called a "pattern of misleading behavior" after the wreck, he'd likely still be leading the Razorbacks. Instead, he's back from a one-year coaching hiatus and at WKU, which lost 24-21 to Central Michigan in last year's Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit. Willie Taggart, who guided the Hilltoppers to their first FBS success, headed to South Florida and that job following the 2012 season. "It (taking the WKU job) was something that was best for everyone involved in my family," he said. "It was a good fit. I was able to get back in the state of Kentucky with the people who have been so good to me and my family. And I think it's a great situation for the team we have coming back." WKU was tabbed fourth in the league's preseason poll despite the return of 15 starters from a team whose four conference losses were by one, five, nine and four points. Uncertainty at quarterback, with the departure of athletic Kawaun Jakes, was probably the biggest reason the 'Toppers were ranked behind co-favorites UL Lafayette and UL Monroe and defending champ Arkansas State. - See more at: http://www.sportsnola.com/sports/sports-blogs/dan-mcdonald/598294-notebook-sun-belt-football-media-days-top-storylines.html#sthash.kyTC2Xf8.dpuf
  9. MOBILE, Alabama - There has always been a sort of mid-major, schoolyard fight existence between the Sun Belt Conference and Conference USA. A my-dad-can-beat-up-your-dad relationship, with every scrap between the leagues celebrated with winks and hallway backslaps by the victor, if not indeed blatant cheering. Now, those schoolyard scraps are only going to intensify. And that might be a good thing for both conferences, both of which could use a rivalry or two to keep things interesting. As of Monday, North Texas, Florida Atlantic, Middle Tennessee and Florida International are no longer members of the Sun Belt, leaving the league to join C-USA. The Sun Belt added Texas State, Georgia State and Texas-Arlington to its roster that day. A year from now, Western Kentucky will leave to join the four departing Sun Belt members in C-USA to add another element to the feud. Western Kentucky's year should be interesting, with the school having already announced its intentions to leave. The Hilltoppers, a long-time member of the Sun Belt, won't be the most welcomed opponent at opposing stadiums and arenas during its farewell tour. Some in the league, especially conference leaders, feel Western Kentucky did the league a disservice by announcing its plans only days after it appeared the Sun Belt had set its future roster allowing for divisional play and a football championship game. Now it must go out and find yet another member to make that formula work. So each time the Hilltoppers take it on the chin this season, there will be smiles - probably hidden, but employed nonetheless - around the league to mark the occasion. That will only intensify the rivalry. Read more: http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2013/07/with_changing_membership_roste.html
  10. Format: The championship game was the Rose Bowl. The regular Rose Bowl wasn't played. Illinois fans were not very happy about it. Number of bowls: 25. New bowls: New Orleans. Also, the Oahu Bowl moved to Seattle and became the Seattle Bowl, and the Aloha Bowl took the year off. Number of Division I-A teams: 117. New schools: South Florida and Troy (independent) Conference realignment: The Big West disbanded, and the Sun Belt started up. The initial members of the Sun Belt were Arkansas State, Idaho, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee State, New Mexico State and North Texas. Also, Utah State became an independent, Boise State and Louisiana Tech joined the WAC, and TCU signed up with Conference USA. Read more: http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/blog/jerry-palm/22514237/the-bcs-era-in-2001-controversy-over-who-plays-miami
  11. http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2013/05/30/texas-state-bobcats-college-football-countdown-2013-preview/2370699/ — Dream season: The Bobcats go 2-2 in September, start 3-1 in the Sun Belt and hold on in November to reach a bowl game. — Nightmare season: The three wins come against Prairie View A&M, Georgia State and South Alabama. IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING — Where Texas State fans hang out: I think the best option is Bobcat Fans, which houses a very active message board. — Returning starters: 13 (6 offense, 7 defense) — 2012 record: 4-8 (2-4) — 2013 schedule: Aug. 31 at Southern Mississippi Sept. 7 Prairie View A&M Sept. 21 at Texas Tech Sept. 28 Wyoming Oct. 5 at Louisiana-Lafayette Oct. 12 Louisiana-Monroe Oct. 19 Georgia State Oct. 26 South Alabama Nov. 2 at Idaho Nov. 16 at Arkansas State Nov. 23 Western Kentucky Nov. 29 at Troy
  12. The Sun Belt currently has deals with the New Orleans Bowl and GoDaddy. A third is likely to come in the form of a new game being worked on in Little Rock, Ark., with Conference USA providing a possible opponent. Benson hopes as that as the Sun Belt improves, and it is undergoing another membership overhaul in the next two seasons, it will attract more bowl partners. For now, though, he sees value in being in what he calls the at-large pool, being able to fill spots left open when a bowl doesnt have an eligible team available in its contracted conference, and no plan B. In my history in the WAC, said Benson, who led the Western Athletic Conference for more than a decade, fairly regularly we were able to place teams outside contracts. Last season, the Sun Belt was able to get Louisiana-Monroe into the Independence Bowl via that route, and had a chance to move Arkansas State into the Liberty Bowl. Benson said his priority will always be to get his league champion into the best possible bowl game, even if that means going outside of contracts. But he is also realistic and knows the Sun Belt will likely be playing most of its bowl games against what he calls its peer conferences the group of five that also consists of The American Athletic Conference (former Big East), the Mountain West, C-USA and the MAC. Read more: http://www.thenewsstar.com/viewart/20130516/SPORTS/305160045/Sun-Belt-MAC-trying-expand-bowl-lineup
  13. TheWestie


    From the album: Dickey Ball

    © David Minton

  14. 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
  15. North Texas star sophomore forward Tony Mitchell was named one of the top 5 best non-major conference basektball players in the courntry! Check out the article here and see what they think about Tony Mitchell! http://thefarmclub.net/top-five-mens-mid-major-basketball-players/ Go Mean Green!!
  16. The Associated Press released it's preseason basketball Top 25 today, and not a sinigle vote was cast for a Sun Belt team in the nation's definitive rankings. No, not a single vote for Middle Tennessee State. Not a one for Tony Mitchell and North Texas. Media darlings Western Kentucky couldn't score any love [and how could you not love this guy?] read more: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/fau-owls/fau-blog/sfl-no-love-for-sun-belt-in-ap-basketball-poll-20121026,0,2051340.story
  17. The talk of the Sun Belt Conference coaches teleconference this morning was Louisiana-Monroe’s win over Arkansas. Big shock. Just about every coach in the league was asked how big it was, and they all said it was huge. Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson mentioned that it was important for the league’s profile and went on to say that he was disappointed that ULM didn’t receive more votes in the Top 25 polls. ULM received 23 votes in the AP poll and one in the coaches’ poll. Media members are more likely to vote for a team that pulls an upset. Todd Berry, ULM’s head coach, talked about how important the win was for the program and how big it is for the Warhawks to follow up on it. If ULM is ever going to get to a bowl, this would seem to be the year. The Warhawks have a good quarterback in Kolton Browning and an experienced defense. Plus ULM has a win on the board with the entire Sun Belt schedule left, not to mention a game against Tulane. Read more: http://meangreenblog.dentonrc.com/2012/09/sbc-conference-call-notes.html/
  18. Looks like Troy could be back in business again.
  19. This is a tough one that I started thinking about in the Pick ems contest with South Alabama and UT San Antonio playing each other. I think in the end though I wish South Alabama well, I decided to pull for the Road Runners and Coach Larry.
  20. read more: http://meangreenblog.dentonrc.com/2012/08/unt-western-kentucky-game-picked-up-for-tv.html/
  21. 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
  22. NEW ORLEANS — For some, Sun Belt Media Day seemed like the first day of school. For others, it was the last. The mixture created a peculiar atmosphere Monday as the media event returned to an in-person format for the first time since 2008. Those schools in attendance offered an accurate representation of the conference realignment running rampant through college sports. Among the 10 schools here, North Texas and Florida International attended their last Sun Belt Media Day, as both will move to Conference USA in 2013. South Alabama will play its first football season in the Sun Belt, but it will not be eligible to win the championship or play in a bowl game this season. Georgia State and Texas State – both recently announced as new Sun Belt members in 2013 – debuted at Media Day. New commissioner Karl Benson acknowledged the revolving door of schools at the New Orleans Marriott. “This is a transition year. I’ve been through a lot of transition years in my previous position (Western Athletic Conference commissioner),” Benson said. “Although it can be awkward, it can also be manageable and very productive. Unlike some other conferences that are having some acrimony and contentiousness, the relationship that we have and will continue to have with North Texas and Florida International is business as usual.” The warm and fuzzy feeling toward the two departing members was a popular one. “We’ve been brothers and been across the field from each other,” Troy coach Larry Blakeney said. “We pull for each other when we’re not playing against each other. I wish them the best. I hope they do good, even in another league.” Read more: http://www.tennessean.com/article/D4/20120717/BLUERAIDERS01/307170003/Realignment-evident-Sun-Belt-Media-Day?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|Sports|p
  23. BRING IT, C-USA: New Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson addressed the media Monday, noting several changes not only in his league but in college athletics in general. One of the items he mentioned was the competition that has developed in recent seasons with Conference USA. Benson said the Sun Belt has made strides in its growth. "The competitive gap that may have been in place between the Sun Belt and Conference USA, the WAC, the Mountain West, has shrunk considerably and there are changes that will take place a year from now that the Sun Belt is poised to contend to be the best of the so-called non-AQ (automatic qualifier) conferences," he said. Benson mentioned the Sun Belt has eight games against teams from C-USA this season, games that he thinks "will be a very spirited yet healthy rivalry between the two conferences, conferences that share the same footprint and many of the same states." THEY'RE BACK: Monday's Sun Belt Football Media Day marked the first time since 2008 the league has staged an in-person media day for football. In recent years, the preseason media event was by teleconference and video. Read more: http://www.al.com/sports/index.ssf/2012/07/sun_belt_conference_football_n.html
  24. The dog days of summer are the prime time for college football recruiting, but Pelini and FAU stand as the only Sun Belt conference program without a verbal commit from the class of 2013. While many of the nation's best — and in some cases mediocre — college teams are already working on the class of 2014, the new regime in Boca Raton hasn't been able to make much headway in the nation's hotbed of high school football talent. Archrival FIU has seven verbal commitments, one of which is an in-state three-star prospect (OL Donald Rocker, Jacksonville-Sandalwood.) The conference's best team, Arkansas State, has nine commits. North Texas, who faces many of the same recruiting pratfalls as FAU (lots of local talent, lots of teams recruiting that talent) has seven commits. Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State, Troy and South Alabama all have four. Read more: http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/sports/college/fau/blog/2012/07/fau_remains_only_sun_belt_team.html
  25. Read more: http://www.thenewsst...TES02/120523018 This post has been promoted to an article
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