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PostPosted: Fri Apr 30, 2004 6:33 pm 
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SUN BELT MEMBERS AFFIRM SOLIDARITY TO CONFERENCE!!!

www.sunbeltsports.org



News
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sun Belt Leaders Commit to Conference
League CEO's excited to be a part of growing league
April 30th, 2004

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NEW ORLEANS — The Chief Executive Officers of the Sun Belt Conference today affirmed their commitment to the league.



"We feel that during this historical time in college athletics it is important to publicly affirm the solidarity of the membership of the Sun Belt Conference," said Dr. Norval Pohl, President of the University of North Texas and President of the Sun Belt Conference.



"We have continued to grow stronger as a conference, including the moves to become a more regionalized league. We are committed to competing at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics through the efforts of our member schools and the conference office."



"The Sun Belt Conference is on the cusp of significant success," said Dr. Gary Ransdell, President of Western Kentucky University and a Past President of the Sun Belt Conference. "It is an emerging league with strong institutions. Its members anticipate its future with great eagerness."



"With this confirmation from the CEOs, the league also reaffirms its commitment to Idaho and Denver that they will have a home with the Sun Belt Conference, but we anticipate opportunities in the near future that will address their travel concerns," explained Wright Waters, Commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference. "We recognize the need to still add one additional I-A institution as a full-time member. We believe this can be accomplished prior to July 1."



Since its establishment in 1976, the Sun Belt Conference has been on an evolutionary journey, advancing to the highest level of competition in intercollegiate athletics in every championship sport.



With the addition of I-A football to the Sun Belt in 2001, the league is one of only 11 conferences competing at this level and beginning in 2006 the Sun Belt will be recognized as a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) member.



In recent years women's participation has increased by 69.3 percent with the addition of softball (2000), soccer (2000) and swimming & diving (2000-01). With the opportunity to compete for a conference title several members added teams in those sports - softball (North Texas, Western Kentucky); soccer (Arkansas State, Louisiana, Western Kentucky); swimming & diving (Florida

International, New Orleans).



The league's student-athletes continue to advance in the classroom, which is reflected by increases in membership graduation rates and an increase in the number of student-athletes recognized on the annual Sun Belt Conference Commissioner's List and Honor Roll.



Member institutions continue to make on-campus improvements to Student-Athlete Services programs and athletics facilities. Members have recently spent more than $340 million in facilities construction, renovation and upgrades with nearly $190 million in future projects scheduled over the next decade.



Members of the Sun Belt Conference (with year of admission) for the 2005-06 season will include: Arkansas State University (1991), Florida Atlantic University (football 2005; full 2006), Florida International University (1998; football 2005), Middle Tennessee State University (2000), Troy State University (football 2004; full 2005), University of Arkansas at Little Rock(1991), University of Denver (1999), University of Idaho (football 2001; full 2005), University of Louisiana at Lafayette (1991), University of New Orleans (1976-80; rejoined in 1991), University of North Texas (2000), University of South Alabama (1976), and Western Kentucky University (1982).


The University of Louisiana at Monroe (2001) will continue as an affiliate member in football and swimming & diving.

—SUN BELT CONFERENCE —



Last edited by californiacajun on Fri Apr 30, 2004 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2004 12:52 pm 
If N. Texas and La-L are not interested in the WAC, then LA Tech needs to go back to the SunBelt. It will save them money and cultivate more regional rivalries. The SunBelt has changed, and with the additions of Florida Atlantic and Florida International, it may make for nicer road trips.

Idaho, if it hopes to maintain 1-A, needs to be in the WAC. Natural rivals for them are Boise State, Utah State, Nevada, and even San Jose State. Sure Kibbie Dome is small, but that is an issue they are going to have to deal with if they hope to maintain I-A. At some point, maybe Montana may want to move up to 1-A and the WAC (if the MWC does not have their eyes on them for the future).

With UTEP leaving, the WAC still has some decent schools, i. e. Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada, and Boise State. The WAC has very few options, if none of the Texas/Louisiana SunBelt teams can be lured, then it is basically Idaho as an available choice. In an indirect way, that may even help with the San Jose State situation.

And who thought Miami (& company) going to the ACC only affected the BE? It resulted in a bb ladden new BE, a major revamping of C-USA, the MWC adding TCU, and the WAC and SunBelt reaching to maintain their existence or cut their loses.

Other than conferences, schools one may sympathize with all of this include Idaho, La Tech, and Temple. Call it the East Carolina syndrome to the extreme ;D.


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PostPosted: Fri May 14, 2004 8:45 am 
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I said that earlier perhaps not on this forum but its way past time for La. Tech and it supporters to realize that they need
to re-join the SunBelt conference since it now includes football
schools.

Tech would have many regional rivalries and their travel expenses would not be as prohibitive as it now is with them in the WAC.

They would also probably become a dominate force in the conference and get to play in the New Orleans Bowl providing that bowl with a Louisiana flavor which they have not yet enjoyed.

I see their going to the SunBelt as a win/win situation for them all the way.


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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2004 12:23 pm 
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Through all of this realignment and conference shuffling, one conference I think that has been the best about it is the Sun Belt. They have provided a home for those that needed one (NM State, Utah State, Idaho, North Texas) and expanded to become a nice regional conference (Florida Schools). When they lost Utah State and NM State, it wasn't a big deal. I think they had the foresight to know that those western schools would leave if an opportunity opened up for them. They didn't have too many defections. The only problem for them now would be attendance requirements. But if Idaho moves to the WAC (see article at http://www.idahostatesman.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040527/NEWS03/405270362/1037) then the Sun Belt becomes a really good regional conference, which all of these other conferences are striving to become.

The one exception is LaTech. I think that they should seriously look at rejoining the SunBelt, who has improved since they left for the WAC. Budgets are an issue everywhere and it would be much cheaper to travel in the Sun Belt than the WAC. Also the SunBelt is a good conference.

Idaho to the WAC. LaTech to the SunBelt. Then are we done? Maybe, maybe not. I know that we would be done at least for a few years...


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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2004 3:18 pm 
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LaTech is playing the CUSA waiting game. They'll sit in the WAC for 10 years if it takes them that long to move to CUSA. UNT is also playing the CUSA waiting game in the Sun Belt.

The Sun Belt is a good conference? How do you define good? Rating below the Southern and just above the Southland 1-AA conferences?

Really.



The Sun Belt is the NEWEST 1-A conference and has one bowl victory in three tries (defeating the CUSA champion in 2002).

Is it the lowest on the 1-A totem pole? Yes. Has it taken a quantum leap since the first season of football play (2001)? Yes. So although it has to continue to improve it's hardly time to administer the last rites.

If the Sun Belt doesn't pick up another school this year it still came out ahead after this round of realignment because it regionalized itself. If it can pick up Louisiana Tech it will, in my opinion, be only one of two conferences (the ACC being the other) that came out of this smelling like a rose.

The people who frequent this board, as well as the Western newspapers have mistakenly assumed that UL and UNT would be interested in the WAC. Not so.



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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2004 4:08 pm 
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LaTech is playing the CUSA waiting game. They'll sit in the WAC for 10 years if it takes them that long to move to CUSA. UNT is also playing the CUSA waiting game in the Sun Belt.

The Sun Belt is a good conference? How do you define good? Rating below the Southern and just above the Southland 1-AA conferences?

Really.


I think I was speaking more to the fact that it is a good REGIONAL conference. It is better than it used to be. It is a better conference than the WAC, considering travel costs. Not as many bowl tie-ins as the WAC, but I think that LaTech would rule the conference. To me it is all about the regionality. Idaho doesn't fit in the SunBelt and LaTech does. End of story? I think so.


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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 7:25 am 
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Idaho fits the Big Sky Conference

LaTech should of been invited to CUSA, and will be during the next realignment.


Two interesting points you bring up.

I'd re-unify Division I since Division 1-AA doesn't, and probably will never get, the rewards befitting the product they put out on the field. So I'd put Idaho in Division I.

If the feedback I heard after Louisiana Tech did not get the CUSA bid is correct, they need to improve their facilities. Tech could return to the Sun Belt, cut their travel costs, and take those savings to invest in facilities. I agree with you they deserved a CUSA invitation and if UTEP hadn't burst upon the scene they may have gotten it. Perhaps Tech is rolling the dice and thinking that they will get into CUSA by the time UTEP, Tulsa, SMU, and Rice begin playing there.



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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 9:28 pm 

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LaTech is playing the CUSA waiting game. They'll sit in the WAC for 10 years if it takes them that long to move to CUSA. UNT is also playing the CUSA waiting game in the Sun Belt.

The Sun Belt is a good conference? How do you define good? Rating below the Southern and just above the Southland 1-AA conferences?

Really.


C-USA passed on La Tech for a reason- La Tech. The sunbelt team that gets a football team together will be the next c-usa invitee if needed- or la tech if they revert to late 1990s form. If one of the sunbelt fla schools gets going, they will only need a so-so football team to get invited and will leapfrog unt, ull an tech.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2004 7:09 am 
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Agreed Joedaddy, the Indian's look to be the favorite to finally get thier full membership in the Belt.

La Tech has stated they will stay in the WAC. Increased revenue in the WAC vs. Sun Belt will off set additional travel costs, but as Idaho experienced, playing with no regional rivals may well cost them in other ways. I look for La Tech to beg/steal/borrow to get in C-USA. If that is inneffective, I look for La Tech to swallow its pride and head back to the Sun Belt, but not for years.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2004 12:49 pm 
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Official statement from the Southland Conference site:

June 30, 2004
For Immediate Release
STATEMENT FROM SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE COMMISSIONER TOM BURNETT ON
MEMBERSHIP WITHDRAWAL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA AT MONROE:

"The Southland Conference has received written notification from the
University of Louisiana at Monroe detailing its intent to withdraw from
the Conference effective June 30, 2006. Due to its continued efforts
to compete at the NCAA Division I-A level in football, and changing NCAA
legislation regarding I-A conferences, the university has informed this
office that it will pursue an invitation of full membership with the Sun
Belt Conference.

"We appreciate the timely notice from President Cofer, who handles this
and all issues with a great sense of professionalism and the highest
integrity. We also thank Louisiana-Monroe for its loyal membership in
the Southland Conference since 1982, and proudly recognize the mutual
successes of the institution and the Conference during this period. We
are dedicated to making the transition of league membership over the
next two years the best possible experience for all parties, especially
ULM's student-athletes. We wish the university the best and hope the
athletic program continues to find competitive success.

"In its over forty years of existence, the Southland Conference has
experienced many membership changes and has always maintained its status
as one of the nation's most competitive and successful leagues. We
certainly expect that to continue."


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2004 5:27 pm 
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And I've posted another one on the front page:

ULM in Sunbelt for all-sports

http://collegesportsinfo.com/

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