Sun Belt to drop Idaho and New Mexico State in 2017 - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Sun Belt to drop Idaho and New Mexico State in 2017

NEW ORLEANS (Sun Belt Conference) – Beginning with the 2018 football season the Sun Belt Conference will be a 10-team football league. 
 
Sun Belt Conference Presidents and Chancellors made the decision to be a 10-team league rather than extend the current membership agreements that are in place with the University of Idaho and New Mexico State University.  These agreements will now expire following the 2017 football season.
 
"This was a strategic decision that was reached following a thorough and complete review of our options," said Sun Belt Conference and Texas State University President Dr. Denise Trauth. "The Sun Belt's Presidents and Chancellors strongly believe it is in the best interest of the conference to have a core membership of 10 football teams that are geographically located within the 'footprint' of the conference and that these 10 members also compete in all conference sports.  This decision, along with the full 12-team membership that goes into place for the 2016-17 season with the addition of Coastal Carolina University, will reduce travel demands and missed class time for all Sun Belt student-athletes – while also furthering the development of regional rivalries within the conference."
 
The other nine football-playing members of the conference – Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, UL Lafayette, UL Monroe, South Alabama, Texas State and Troy – will be joined by Coastal Carolina in 2017 to complete the 10-team configuration that will be in place for the 2018 season.
 
"This 10-team football league will maximize the Sun Belt's on-field performance, push us to the top ranking of our four peer conferences, and will give us the best opportunity to soon place a team in one of the  College Football Playoff's New Year's Day bowl games," said Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson. "We will also now have serious conversations with our football coaches and athletics directors about conducting a football championship game.  These discussions will take place this spring and a decision will be made in the very near future."

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