Sun Belt Conference

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The Sun Belt Conference is a group of college sports teams that play each other on the NCAA Division I level. The conference was formed in 1976, and started playing football in 2001. Of the current 11 full members (those playing most of their sports in the league), nine play football in the top-level Division I FBS, and the other two do not play football. The conference's full members are scattered through the southern United States.

Members[change | change source]

The current non-football members are Arkansas–Little Rock and Texas–Arlington.

School Location Founded Type
Nickname Joined
Sun Belt
Appalachian State University Boone, North Carolina 1899 Public Mountaineers 2014
Arkansas Little RockUniversity of Arkansas at Little Rock Little Rock, Arkansas 1927 Public Trojans 1991
Arkansas State University Jonesboro, Arkansas 1909 Public Red Wolves 1991
Georgia Southern University Statesboro, Georgia 1906 Public Eagles 2014
Georgia State University Atlanta, Georgia 1913 Public Panthers 1976, 2013[a 1]
Louisiana LafayetteUniversity of Louisiana at Lafayette Lafayette, Louisiana 1898 Public Ragin' Cajuns 1991
Louisiana MonroeUniversity of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe, Louisiana 1931 Public Warhawks 2001 (football only)
2006 (all sports)
South AlabamaUniversity of South Alabama Mobile, Alabama 1963 Public Jaguars 1976
Texas ArlingtonUniversity of Texas at Arlington Arlington, Texas 1895 Public Mavericks 2013
Texas State University–San Marcos San Marcos, Texas 1899 Public Bobcats 2013
Troy University Troy, Alabama 1887 Public Trojans 2004 (football only)
2005 (all sports)
  1. Georgia State left the Sun Belt in 1981 and returned in 2013.

Future member[change | change source]

On September 1, 2015, the conference announced that Coastal Carolina University would join in July 2016. It will start out as a member in all sports except football; at that time, the football team was playing in the second-level Division I FCS. The football team will start a transition to FBS when Coastal joins the Sun Belt, and will join Sun Belt football in 2017. Full FBS membership and bowl eligibility will follow in 2018.[1]

School Location Founded Type
Nickname Joining
Sun Belt
Coastal Carolina University Conway, South Carolina 1954 Public Chanticleers 2016
(2017 in football)

Associate members[change | change source]

In the past, the Sun Belt has had "associate members" that play only a few sports, usually one, in the league. Since 2014, the league once again has associate members, with two playing only football and three playing only men's soccer.

School Location Founded Type
Nickname Joined Sun Belt sport Main conference
Hartwick College Oneonta, New York 1797 Private Hawks 2014 Men's soccer Empire 8
(Division III)
Howard University Washington, D.C. 1867 Private Bison 2014 Men's soccer MEAC
IdahoUniversity of Idaho Moscow, Idaho 1889 Public Vandals 2014[b 1] Football Big Sky
New Mexico State University Las Cruces, New Mexico 1888 Public Aggies 2014[b 2] Football WAC
NJITNew Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) Newark, New Jersey 1881 Public Highlanders 2014 Men's soccer A-Sun[b 3]
  1. Idaho played Sun Belt football from 2001 to 2005.
  2. New Mexico State joined the Sun Belt as a full member in 2000, and brought its football team into the league the next year. NMSU left the conference in 2005.
  3. Although NJIT's all-sports home of the Atlantic Sun Conference runs a men's soccer league, NJIT will remain an associate of the Sun Belt in the 2015 season. NJIT is honoring a contract that calls for it to play men's soccer in the Sun Belt through that season. The NJIT men's soccer team will join the A-Sun in 2016.[2]

References[change | change source]

  1. Sun Belt Conference (September 1, 2015). "Coastal Carolina to Join Sun Belt Conference". Press release. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  2. Atlantic Sun Conference (June 12, 2015). "New Jersey Institute of Technology to Join the Atlantic Sun: #NJITtoASun". Press release. Retrieved June 12, 2015.