Without football, UTA will never get an invite to a football conference. Even the slc is getting frustrated with UTA no no no, yes yes yes, no no no to football. Maybe a basketball conference with UALR, UNO, UTA, A&M CC, UTPA, Denver, ORU, Centenary, and HBU
I am going to disagree. I have no ties to UTA, I don't even really like the school in general, but there is a world of logic in it's inclusion as a non-football member of a FBS conference.
UTA has very good media value.
UALR, UNO, Denver have noteworthy to good media value.
A&M CC, UTPA, ORU, Centenary, and HBU have marginal media value.
UTA is a large unversity located dead center between two major cities in the same media market. Their graduates stay in DFW. That is great news for media markets.
UALR, UNO, and Denver are smaller Universities, but like TCU and SMU, they are local and noteworthy in their local markets.
The other schools are either in insignifigant markets, have the academic reputation to be noteworthy (ala Rice) or do not produce the number of graduates.
UTA expends about 6M a year in their athletic budget. 6 teams spend less in the SLC, 5 teams spend more and no one spends more than 10.5M (football school texas state).
That is more than Saint Bonaventure in the A-10 and 55 other Div 1 schools. Small budget? sure, but you can survive that. The A10 has. As I have said before UNT and UTA in the same Div 1 conference makes a ton of TV sense.
In a sub-FBS conference it has no TV value, so I can understand the criticism.
It is a lot similar to Temple. Sure you don't REALLY want a school that can't handle their athletic business in your conference, but the market they give access to and provide a solid TV toehold in is more than signifigant.
The current trend is to shun the hybrid conference because football and basketball schools pull in different directions and because it is seen as unstable. I think a number of conferences could profit hugely off of adding a small handful of schools to augment their FBS footprint.