“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.”
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 expansion
The 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/
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