DESTIN, FL (KAIT) - Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson spoke to the media Wednesday morning to report new business after the conclusion of the spring meetings in Destin, Florida this week.
The biggest revelation by Benson during the nearly 30 minute teleconference was the Sun Belt Conference would be "staying put" on adding new teams at least for the next two seasons. "This means that on July 1 of 2014, the Sun Belt will only be an 11 team league," said Benson.
The significance of staying an 11 team conference only really impacts football. Since Benson took office last year, he has always maintained a priority to be getting a championship game. Wednesday morning, however, his tone was different, "There is no sense of urgency right now to add another team," said Benson, "This is no longer a numbers game."
Benson did add that he felt this stay in adding members was only temporary and if or when the opportunity opened up to gain a "quality" member, then the conference would not hold off on pursuing that team.
A desire to get a championship game is based almost solely off revenue and television exposure, Benson said Wednesday there would be incoming revenue to offset not having a title game for football, "With the new play-off system that will take effect, it should offset any revenue loss we would have from not having a title game."
The summary of no title game for football is no change for fans, the Sun Belt Conference has never had a title game for football. But their lack of desire to pursue one is sudden and change of pace for Benson, who was rapidly pursuing teams to fill voids in the conference and as he said earlier this year, to get to 12 teams.
Another order of business at the spring meetings was putting in new bylaws that prohibit teams from leaving the conference on short notice. Benson said they had added a rule that won't allow a member to leave the conference without at least a 12 months notice. "This is non-negotiable. We can't allow ourselves to be put in the kind of jeopardy we were this season," said Benson.
The meetings also addressed the Sun Belt Conference Basketball tournament bracket, adding a double-bye for the 1 seed in the bracket.