I just don't like this hodge-podge construction that Benson is putting together.
Adding fb only schools, not in the footprint, instead of full members. Adding soccer only schools, not in the footprint, instead of full members. Adding another non fb school not that long ago.
Now, because of how he set the footprint....he says...we need, not the best institution, but some school in the east.
I just don't get how Benson can talk about balancing the conference when he keeps taking schools from all over the place. The Sun Belt is the most patched together conference around. It just seems like Benson is setting this conference up to fail.
Men's soccer doesn't matter, most mid major conferences try to sponsor some random sports in order to boost their status, for example CUSA as 14 affiliate members (including UT and other Big12/SEC schools) for sports like men's soccer and women's rowing.
As for your general statement I can't disagree more, please tell me what you disagree with specifically.
ULL, ULM, UALR, ArkSt, USA, and Troy were already here and UNT, FAU, FIU, MTSU, and WKU all left...nothing he can do about those.
He readded former members GA St (in the Atlanta market) as a full member. Yes/No?
He added Texas State (located between the Austin/SanAntonio market) as an attempt to retain the Texas market after UNT's departure. Yes/No?
He added 2 of the best FCS teams in GA Southern and App St all of which were in the footprint. Yes/No?
He added non-fb UT-Arlington, a large school in the DFW market that the conference had in its footprint with UNT which also help offset UALR's non-fb which obviously has the support of the fb schools in order to pass, and was the best nonfb school in the Southwest for the SBC to add. Yes/No?
He also readded Idaho and NMSU as fb onlys as this allowed the SBC to host a CCG w/o adding more FCS upgrades as half of the conference would have been (USA, TxSt, GaSt, GaSo, AppSt). Yes/No?
Most likely it was just those last two which all was based around keep UALR which the majority of the schools must have wanted.
As for the Sun Belt being the most patched together conference, that is just false. Take CUSA for example which streches from El Paso, TX to the Virginias in all sport members (which would be about the same footprint as the SBC if they add JMU or Liberty) but they also have affiliate members out in California (which is also similar to the SBC). You don't count those schools where they only play 4 games years as part of their "footprint".
The SBC's schools are based in two very distinct footprints TX/Ark/LA and AL/GA+NC
At a glance App St looks out of place but its on the far East side of the state near the TN border. A school in SC/TN would be best to tie them in but it doesn't look like that will happen, and even if it doesn't App St is worth the exception to the rule.
I'm not a Benson fan but I'm not sure how you can blame him for the SBC (other than the haphazard way the search has gone). The Western schools don't want any ULL/ULM/ArkSt to be shifted to the East, that blocks any full memberslike NMSU, Missouri St, Lamar or SHSU. All the schools want the $ from a CCG.
The lack of a quality Eastern team in their footprint sucks but it hard to avoid, but still its not Benson's fault that the field has shaken out this way.
Adding Idaho/NMSU while at first seemed like Benson throwing them a lifeline was really a win/win situation for everyone invovled (except NMSU's nonfb sports) the only way it could bite the SBC is if they tied themselves to those schools long term (which I doubt due to the length of time it took them to make that move I'm sure they thought it out fully).
Fan of the Big 12 Conference, the Mountain West Conference and...