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Jacksonville St. Approves FBS Upgrade Exploration

Category: NCAA Conference Expansion & Realignment, NCAA Division Upgrades, Ohio Valley Conference Expansion

The Jacksonville State University Board of Trustees passed a resolution during Monday’s quarterly meeting that allows the University to explore the possibility of moving the Gamecock football team to the Football Bowl Subdivision, provided there is an opportunity in the future.

The official statement is available on their website.

Jacksonville St. is part one of a few current FCS schools that have explored an FBS move. Others include Appalachian St., Georgia Southern, Lamar and UMass. Others with long term FBS goals include Charlotte, ODU and Georgia St. And schools like JMU and Delaware have expressed less public interest but are perhaps the best poised schools to upgrade.

The biggest obstacle to Jacksonville St. or any other FCS schools seeking to upgrade is a set rule that states that a school upgrading to FBS from FCS needs to have an invitation to join a current FBS conference. UMass has been in talks with the MAC to join as that conference’s 14th member. There has been speculation that the Sun Belt was considering adding an 11th football school. However, the same rumors claim the Sun Belt is only interested in current FBS schools. When you read between the lines, that would seem to include only LA Tech or NMSU of the WAC.

With CUSA, MAC, MWC and BCS conferences not a likely option for a school like Jacksonville St., the only option they might have would be to join the WAC if they opted to upgrade. The WAC is desperate for football members and is adding Texas St. and UTSA to it’s membership. At this time, it seems that due to the existing NCAA rules, the WAC might be the only option for any potential FCS upgrade.

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  • Andy

    I’ll be really interested to see the outcome at Jacksonville State.

    It would make sense that the WAC would be the only option for JSU, which could really mean an even bigger increase in their overall athletic budget (beside the cost involved moving football up to IA) because of travel costs. Think about, Louisiana Tech in Ruston, La., would be the closest conference member (provided they don’t leave for the Sun Belt) and still be an almost 8 hour bus ride away. Texas State and Texas-San Antonio would be almost 1,000 miles not mention traveling to San Jose, Calif., Moscow, Idaho, Denver, Logan, Utah and Las Cruces, NM. It’s on thing for your football or basketball teams to have to fly for games, it’s whole another thing when every team you have (think golf, baseball, soccer, volleyball etc) has to get on a plane for a conference road event. I’ve worked in college athletics and see how travel costs can take a toll on an athletic program.

  • Wow, Jacksonville State would have some travel exspenives if they joined the WAC. Alabama is not that close to Moscow, Idaho. I think that’s where the Kibble dome is? Good thing Hawii is joing the MWC.

  • Beggars can’t be choosers. If the WAC is the only option and all

  • I don’t believe that the WAC would invite them. There are too many factors that would make it not worth it for either side. I would be surprised if they decided to go FBS because they would probably not get in a conference that they would like.

  • “At this time, it seems that due to the existing NCAA rules, the WAC might be the only option for any potential FCS upgrade.”

    Would such invitation by the WAC cement the conference’s new found reputation as the Atlantic Sun of I-A Conferences? Also, would the NCAA decide to revoke its recently relaxed rule about league membership stability requirement?

    I am surprised that I-A schools from the power conferences are not limiting the overall number of I-A programs. If we are to have a playoff in I-A, then the power conferences would want to limit the number of schools who will receive a slice of the financial pie.


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