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When North Texas helped Utah State get into the Sun Belt Conference


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I forgot about this happening, but I remember one UNT official back then smiled, winked & said “Utah State owes us a big favor.”  Not sure back then there was ever any intent to collect. 

As I recall, the situation was that Utah State was in a pickle of having no where to be conference-wise at the time.  The ‘Belt served as a temporary home for Aggie athletics until the WAC/MWC would come calling. 
 

https://www.hjnews.com/aggies-head-to-sun-belt/article_7c78466d-328a-50e0-852f-c393da8c6df5.html

🦅

Edited by PlummMeanGreen
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1 hour ago, PlummMeanGreen said:

I forgot about this happening, but I remember one UNT official back then smiled, winked & said “Utah State owes us a big favor.”  Not sure back then there was ever any intent to collect. 

As I recall, the situation was that Utah State was in a pickle of having no where to be conference-wise at the time.  The ‘Belt served as a temporary home for Aggie athletics until the WAC/MWC would come calling. 
 

https://www.hjnews.com/aggies-head-to-sun-belt/article_7c78466d-328a-50e0-852f-c393da8c6df5.html

🦅

Utah State says they already paid us back for that one: https://www.espn.com/college-football/game/_/gameId/401032054

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On 9/25/2021 at 5:19 PM, PlummMeanGreen said:

I’m sure late UNT President Norval Pohl & UNT AD Craig Helwig(?) thought helping Utah State out of their situation was the right thing to do.  
Pohl was a nice guy. Sorry he passed way too soon.

The AD at the time was Rick Villarreal. 

I agree that Pohl was a nice guy and a wonderful president of the University. However, the motives for inviting Utah State were not altruistic. At the time, the Sun Belt Conference needed Utah State as much as Utah State needed the SBC.

Utah State had a disastrous two years operating as an independent. The Sun Belt Conference needed another football school to maintain Division I-A status.

This was a match made out of desperation. But on a personal note, I really enjoyed the trip to Logan in 2004.

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51 minutes ago, ADLER said:

The Sun Belt absolutely did not need Utah State and paid a huge price for rescuing that morally bankrupt piece of shit school. Arkansas State, Louisiana, and North Texas should NEVER forget the deceit, and NMSU should always be commended for how they handled the situation.

USU President Kermit Hall died of a heart attack while swimming in 2006, and his scumbag accomplice, Athletic Director Rance Pugmire, was almost killed and subsequently fired in 2005 for drunkenly wrecking his SUV in the desert. 

And if Utah State ever again finds itself intentionally isolated by all of its closest geographical rivals I highly recommend we do absolutely nothing to assist them.

 

Interesting ... it sounds like you have much more insider information ... please tell more. In particular, I'm curious to know the "huge price" the Sun Belt paid for "rescuing" Utah State. And what exactly was this deceit you speak of?

Edited by greenb.o.g.
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38 minutes ago, ADLER said:

I do. I have had extensive discussion with both Dr Pohl and SBC Commish Wright Waters concerning what transpired.

NCAA Div 1 football playing conferences were required to have a minimum of seven football teams. 

Division 1 independence is a death sentence for a small time program without deep pockets. Scheduling is near impossible and travel costs are prohibitive, especially for a remote western school. Utah St had just won 25 basketball games and WAC Comish Karl Benson, who was on the selection committee worked to have them denied entry into the tourney. WAC schools would basically abuse Utah St and Idaho for self amusement.

The WAC was left with only six members (Hawaii, SJSU, Fresno, Nevada, Boise St, and La Tech) in 2005 after Rice, SMU, Tulsa, and UTEP bolted for CUSA. La Tech was suddenly isolated by thousands of miles from their nearest conference mate. The WAC would have to add at least one football school to remain a conference.

At the time, the Sun Belt had five full members that played football (MTSU, Arkansas St, Louisiana, North Texas, and NMSU) and three associate football members (ULM, impoverished Idaho, and a Utah State program that was unnecessarily rescued from certain demise in 2003). ULM refused to leave the Southland because of their incredibly low budget.

MTSU wanted to go to the MAC, and the other SBC members proposed a WAC merge, with Arkansas St, Louisiana, North Texas, and NMSU joining the WAC along with associate members Utah State and Idaho. This idea was strongly supported by WAC member La Tech and opposed by Hawaii because they didn't want 'more eastern members'.

The proposal was "WE ALL JOIN OR NOBODY JOINS".

Benson countered by inviting only North Texas which replied NO. Benson then invited North Texas and NMSU, along with the threat that if North Texas declined Arkansas or Louisiana would be invited instead and "North Texas would soon be out of Division 1 football". North Texas and NMSU both declined, and so did both Arkansas St and Louisiana.

The WAC needed seven schools to qualify as a football conference and only had six, and there were no other options. A WAC - Sun Belt merger was becoming inevitable, well, that is, unless any SBC school broke its promise.

Utah State, one of the two schools that the WAC members were most strongly opposed to, receives an invitation and instantly accepts. "Its a dream come true!" proclaims Rance Pugmire as his school knifed in the back those Sun Belt schools that had just rescued his a year earlier.

The WAC was saved at the expense of the Sun Belt. The Sun Belt was fully expected to die.

North Texas was then invited again and declined out of loyalty to its faithful conference mates. NMSU and Idaho then asked for, and received everyone's blessing to join the WAC. 

The Sun Belt and WAC then started the expansion by filling and further backfilling with 1-AA schools and that boom continues to this day: Texas State, UTSA, Troy, FAU, FIU, South Alabama, Western Kentucky, ODU, Charlotte, App St, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, etc...

10% of FBS members are a direct result of this debacle, including 30% of the continuously watered down G5 swamp... and it all started with a filthy backstab by Utah State.

I hope nobody offers help if Utah State is again alienated by the MWC being depleted of too many teams through Big XII and AAC expansion.

Other than that I don't like USU and don't don't think we should ever lower ourselves to interact with them.

 

💰Gold💰
 

👍👍

 

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@ADLER

OK, there is a lot to unpack there. I agree with a lot of the things you said, but unfortunately you have one major fact wrong. Let me begin with Utah State joining the Sun Belt Conference and I'll address the WAC situation later.

Division I-A (FBS) conferences are required to have eight full-time members. This rule was implemented in 2005, but was known about as early as 2002. In 2002, the Sun Belt Conference had seven members: 

1. North Texas 2. New Mexico State 3. Arkansas State 4. Louisiana-Monroe 5. Louisiana-Lafayette 6. Middle Tennessee and 7. Idaho.

But as you note, Idaho and Louisiana-Monroe were "football-only" members of the conference. So technically the Sun Belt only had five full-time members. That means the Sun Belt needed to add at least one school and get some others to sign up as all sports members.

This is why the Sun Belt Conference needed Utah State. In order for the conference to survive they had to expand. In 2002, the only expansion options were independent teams. Utah State and Troy State were those options. Troy State accepted an invitation in 2003.image.thumb.png.d9f45b889db8c655e008b51233a82421.png

image.thumb.png.1353964be1c11e684ebbb8385b140a2f.png

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