Appalachian St. Committee Recommends FBS Upgrade
A report out of Winston-Salem is citing sources who claim that the Appalachian St. committee voted on Monday to recommend to ASU Chancellor Ken Peacock, that the school upgrade to FBS football.
Appalachian St. has been the subject of many FBS upgrade rumors over the past decade due to it’s success at the FCS level of football.
Over the past year, Appalachian St. has seen other FCS schools such as UMass, Texas St. and FCS newcomer UTSA make the leap to FBS. Meanwhile, other schools such as Montana have flirted with the idea of upgrading to an FBS conference and Villanova has been working with the Big East over the past year to explore an upgrade. Other schools such as Georgia Southern, Jacksonville St., Charlotte, Georgia St. and even JMU have either publicly stated some desire to upgrade or are rumored to be potential FBS upgrade candidates.
With the changing landscape in college sports, it appears that Appalachian St. does not want to risk being left behind. Even with the hypothetical risk of the top BCS schools leaving the NCAA, such a move would send FCS football down another rung.
The issue Appalachian St. would face with an upgrade would be an NCAA rule requiring that an existing FBS conference must extend an invitation to an upgrade candidate in order for that school to transition to FBS.
In other words, just because a school wants to upgrade, does not mean that they CAN upgrade. Schools like Texas St. and UTSA have been fortunate that the WAC needed schools and gladly invited both. Others like Montana, Sacramento St., Portland St., Cal Poly and Montana St. have similar chances as 1-2 of those schools could still join the WAC. UMass has hoped to join the Big East but gladly accepted the MAC invite as it was their only way to upgrade.
But in the south, it is more complicated.
You have Appalachian St. who would ideally like to join CUSA, the same conference that Charlotte would one day hope to rejoin once it is active in football sponsorship. But CUSA has not yet offered ASU the type of deal that the WAC did for it’s newest Texas members.
So for Appalachian St. the first move would be to court a conference.
CUSA will be the top option.
If rejected, which at this time is very likely, Appalachian St. would likely approach the Sun Belt. Geographically, the Sun Belt would be a good fit. But if the Sun Belt rejects them, ASU would need to hope the WAC would be interested in adding them, and extend their footprint from the Pacific to the Atlantic ocean.