Report Says Appalachian St. & Georgia Southern Will Join Sun Belt Conference
An ESPN report by Brett McMurphy says that Appalachian St. and Georgia Southern will join the Sun Belt Conference, with an official announcement coming later this week.
Both schools would begin playing football in the Sun Belt Conference in 2015, while competing in all other sports in 2014.
Appalachian St. and Georgia Southern currently play in the Southern Conference, at the FCS (Division 1-AA) level, and because of their anticipated move up, would be ineligible for the FCS playoffs this upcoming season.
Georgia Southern has won six FCS/Division 1-AA national titles, while Appalachian St. claimed three-consecutive championships, from 2005-2007.
Georgia Southern is located is Statesboro, Georgia, and would join Georgia St. as schools from the Peach State, while Appalachian St. is located is Boone, North Carolina.
The Sun Belt Conference has been rumored to have interest in the two schools since North Texas, Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee announced they were leaving for Conference USA.
The addition of Appalachian State and Georgia Southern would give the Sun Belt ten football members in 2015, along with Louisiana, ULM, Arkansas St., South Alabama, Troy, Texas St., WKU, and Georgia State.
UALR and Texas-Arlington, who are non-football playing members, would give the league 12 basketball teams.
But wait!…the Sun Belt Conference might not be done there!
The Idaho Statesman reports that the Vandals are asking permission from the Idaho State Board of Education to accept a football-only invitation to join the conference, and as Ben Kercheval of collegefootballtalk.com points out, the school probably knows an invite is on the way if the bother to ask for permission.
Is this scenario, the conference would invite Idaho and New Mexico St. as football-only members, giving the league 12 football playing schools, along with 12 basketball playing schools.