JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The incoming Commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference made it clear in a Thursday afternoon teleconference that the league would be pro-active during this time of re-alignment in the NCAA world.
Just minutes after being announced to his new post, Karl Benson, current Commissioner of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) said his new conference had a "bright future" and a great opportunity to benefit from the process of conference re-alignment.
"Getting 12 teams for additional post-season support is one of our main goals," said Benson when asked about the possibility of adding teams to the conference. "The Sun Belt Conference has a great geographical footprint to go off of and build off of." Benson also added that a major goal of the expansion of the conference would be to add a Championship game if the league could reach the magic number 12.
Benson also expanded upon the idea of a geographical footprint within his conference using the recently announced merger of the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA as an example of what he wants the SBC to avoid, "I think when you look at joining of the MWC and C-USA and the geography that forces teams to cover, that was not the original idea that conferences have been about," said Benson. He added that teams the conference might be interested in must be the "right fit" saying that location of the teams in proximity to others in the conference was one of the most important factors.
One other concern of Thursday's teleconference was the threat of teams in the SBC being pursued by other conferences searching for teams. "I think that threat is a testament to the growth of us (the Sun Belt Conference) and that is something we will work to do is to show that there is a bright future here."
Benson will be taking the reigns of the conference July 1 and will work along side current Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Wright Waters starting in April. Benson will maintain his post as Commissioner of the WAC until a replacement is found.