DESTIN, FL (Sun Belt Conference) - During the four day meeting the Sun Belt Conference officially extended an invitation to UT Arlington to join the league on July 1, 2013. UTA officials have accepted the invitation, and pending the approval of the UT Board of Regents, the Mavericks will become the 12th member institution in the Sun Belt. UTA joins UALR as non-football playing members, while the other 10 intuitions participate in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
"On behalf of the presidents and chancellors of the member institutions of the Sun Belt Conference, I am pleased to welcome the UT Arlington to our league," said Sun Belt Conference President and Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. "The Sun Belt Conference has never been stronger athletically, academically or financially, and today's action makes us even stronger. Our goal is to add value to our conference by inviting universities with strong academic and athletic programs that fit our profile and our geographic footprint. UT Arlington meets these criteria."
UT Arlington is the second-largest institution in the University of Texas System, is the sixth-largest institution in the state of Texas and is the 33rd largest institution in the United States.
"We are honored to join the Sun Belt Conference," said UT Arlington President James D. Spaniolo. "This move will help us continue to advance the interests of our university. Along with the opening of the College Park Center just a few short months ago, this move to the Sun Belt is another clear sign of the growth of not only our athletic department but of our entire university."
UTA athletics currently competes in 14 varsity sports at the NCAA Division I level and impressively has invested over $80 million in athletic facility improvements. Additionally, UTA has planned another $17 million in athletic facility improvements and renovations for the next several years. The crown jewel of UTA's athletic facility enhancements is the brand new $78 million, 218,000-square-foot College Park Center.
"This is another milestone for UT Arlington athletics," said UT Arlington Director of Athletics Jim Baker. I want to thank Commissioner Karl Benson for the invitation to compete in the Sun Belt Conference. This move to the Sun Belt will allow us to continue to showcase our athletics program on a national level and create further awareness for our university."
UTA currently meets all standards with the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate (APR). The Dallas/Fort Worth metro area is the fifth largest designated market area (DMA) in the United States.
"The addition of UT Arlington is tremendous for the Sun Belt Conference as the league will now move forward with 12 member institutions with two six team divisions," said Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson. UTA will help continue the rise of the Sun Belt Conference as a national contender in intercollegiate athletics."