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Thread: Sun Belt Conference Expansion

  
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    Super Administrator coachacola's Avatar









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    Sun Belt Conference Expansion

    Since Karl Benson will be the new SBC commissioner in a few months, there's a good chance the Sun Belt will be expanding according to this press release:

    Incoming Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson says one of his first priorities in his new job is to look into expanding the league.

    Benson, the longtime Western Athletic Conference commissioner, was introduced as the Sun Belt's next leader Thursday.

    Benson will replace Wright Water, who is retiring after 12 years. He will begin working with the Sun Belt on April 1 and take over as commissioner in July.

    The Sun Belt has 10 football members and Benson says he thinks there is "an advantage to getting to at least 12."
    Link: http://www.cbssports.com/collegefoot...alks-expansion

    I think Texas State and UTSA will be invited to join the Sun Belt this year which would give the league 12 football members if nobody leaves. FIU may join the new CUSA/MWC conference which would mean the Sun Belt would need another football school. With conferences expanding beyond 12 schools, I could see the Sun Belt with 14 football schools and maybe 16 total schools.

    Will UTA get an invite to the Sun Belt as a non-football school, stay in the WAC or go back to the SLC?

    Does Lamar have enough connections with schools in the Sun Belt that they'll eventually get an invite? Has Lamar put a move to a FBS on hold for a while until the dust settles and they feel they have enough money to go FBS?

    Is the SLC with McNeese, SFA and SHSU where Lamar should stay?
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    Re: Sun Belt Conference Expansion

    Quote Originally Posted by "coachacola" post=32235
    Since Karl Benson will be the new SBC commissioner in a few months, there's a good chance the Sun Belt will be expanding according to this press release:

    Incoming Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson says one of his first priorities in his new job is to look into expanding the league.

    Benson, the longtime Western Athletic Conference commissioner, was introduced as the Sun Belt's next leader Thursday.

    Benson will replace Wright Water, who is retiring after 12 years. He will begin working with the Sun Belt on April 1 and take over as commissioner in July.

    The Sun Belt has 10 football members and Benson says he thinks there is "an advantage to getting to at least 12."
    Link: http://www.cbssports.com/collegefoot...alks-expansion

    I think Texas State and UTSA will be invited to join the Sun Belt this year which would give the league 12 football members if nobody leaves. FIU may join the new CUSA/MWC conference which would mean the Sun Belt would need another football school. With conferences expanding beyond 12 schools, I could see the Sun Belt with 14 football schools and maybe 16 total schools.

    Will UTA get an invite to the Sun Belt as a non-football school, stay in the WAC or go back to the SLC?

    Does Lamar have enough connections with schools in the Sun Belt that they'll eventually get an invite? Has Lamar put a move to a FBS on hold for a while until the dust settles and they feel they have enough money to go FBS?

    Is the SLC with McNeese, SFA and SHSU where Lamar should stay?

    I think if the Belt would've been flirting with Lamar instead of the WAC last year Lamar would've shown more interest and may have pushed harder to try and make it happen. The timing still isn't good for Lamar at this point but I think the ultimate goal is to get into a FBS conference and the Sun Belt would be their #1 choice. Benson being named the new SBC commish make things even more interesting. Im not expecting it but I'd be curious if they're offered how the leaders at Lamar would respond.

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    Super Administrator coachacola's Avatar









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    Re: Sun Belt Conference Expansion

    From the Karl Benson press conference:

    On future plans as far as adding teams to the conference…

    “Again as we settle in and look at the potential and looking at the future of membership is an important one. The Sun Belt currently has ten football-playing schools and one non-football-playing school in the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Without getting specific in terms of numbers, I think that there’s an advantage to getting to at least 12 to take advantage of additional post season opportunities. Know that in the coming weeks, the Sun Belt board will establish a committee that will look to evaluate the current membership and the future membership. Chancellor Hawkins mentioned the Sun Belt footprint in terms of geography and how conducive that is for the student-athletes from a travel standpoint, a participation standpoint, and fan travel. The Sun Belt footprint also provides a pool of possible numbers that are already in that footprint: current FBS members, as well as FCS members that have indicated interest in perhaps in moving to FBS. Again it will be a very important piece in the coming months.”
    Link: http://www.troymessenger.com/2012/02...ss-conference/
    “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” ~George Carlin

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    4-STAR POSTER geezer's Avatar









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    Re: Sun Belt Conference Expansion

    Moving up is both a long and short term money issue. Long term the athletic budget has to be sustained at a substantially higher level than current in order to be competitive and short term several large donations are probably needed to make the facilities FBS Conference affiliated equals. Other posts have mentioned the condition of the track facility, money is on the books for the softball stadium, but upgrades are needed at the Beck (decent locker room facilities for the visitors, better locker room facilities for the LU team, new concession stands and an awning over the first base stands to both shade and as a rain cover for the LU fans) and some updating of the Montange is in order. PUS will need a minimum 5k more seats to pretty much assure a 15k average attendance if you can get the area to support the team and only winning will make that happen. If the money is there then LU can and should move up if there is an invitation if the money isn't there then we should stay put and really get to where we compete year in year out for an FCS playoff spot and NCAA Div 1 tourney spots in basketball and baseball.

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    Super Administrator coachacola's Avatar









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    Re: Sun Belt Conference Expansion

    Aren't they trying to come up with $5 million for renovations to Vincent-Beck? The new softball field is going to cost about $1 million. Expanding the football stadium could easily cost $20 million. Lamar definitely has their work cut out for them so it's not surprising they haven't been talking about going FBS since Tubbs retired.

    Here's another article from San Antonio regarding the future of the Sun Belt along with UTSA and Texas State:

    Seeking to prevent a repeat in what he hopes to be his last job, Benson cited future Sun Belt membership as one of his main priorities when he officially takes over for the retiring Wright Waters in July.

    Not surprisingly, he declined to identify candidates.

    But after citing Texas as a “tremendous” source of potential members, it wasn't hard to imagine UTSA and Texas State, whom he lured to the WAC in 2010, near the top of his list.

    Benson said he'd like to add “at least” two football-playing members to get to 12. That's assuming there are no losses to the newly announced Mountain West/Conference USA union, for which multiple Sun Belt schools, most notably North Texas and Florida International, have been regularly mentioned as potential candidates.
    Link: http://www.mysanantonio.com/sports/c...#ixzz1mevIpyFC
    “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” ~George Carlin

  6. #6
    Crawfish
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    Re: Sun Belt Conference Expansion

    Right now, I am hearing that La. Tech and Texas State will be added immediately or soon after Benson is on seat. If the conference loses UNT, then UTSA will be next. The next possible defection at this point may be FIU. In that case, I believe an Eastern school would be added. (Appellation State, or possibly GSU) While La. Tech still has an outside shot at joining "The Alliance," The Ruston market is hurting them in that regard.

    Other possible teams that may defect from the SBC that would fit the market criteria of the Alliance are WKU, FAU, and UMT, If any of these teams leave, I am not sure where the Belt would look for its next members.

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    eagle eye
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    Re: Sun Belt Conference Expansion

    Lamar went to the Sun Belt back in the 80's when basketball and baseball were much better programs than they currently stand and it was a miserable failure. Lamar was the proverbial redheaded step child in the Sun Belt. Actually, Lamar left for the American South Conference in 1987 but when the ASC merged with the Sun Belt in 1992 then Lamar became a member of the SBC. Either way Lamar was in way over their heads right as the old Pat Foster regime was coming to an end. It should be noted that the success that Foster enjoyed after Billy Tubbs left for the University of Oklahoma was on the backs of Billy Tubbs recruits. Pat Foster turned out to be all smoke and mirrors and he bailed out of Lamar and took the University of Houston job following the departure of Guy Lewis. Foster promptly ran THAT program into the ground before being fired. Now, back to the point. We tried to move up and the momentum the basketball program generated gave people a lot of hope for the step up to the ASC. Bad move. Lamar was outclassed by bigger schools and they couldn't compete for a reasonable recruiting class. Lamar floundered first in the ASC and then the Sun Belt. That's why Lamar is back in the Southland Conference now. Maybe a step up could be in our future but let's give Coach Knight a chance to compete and a reasonable chance to succeed before we move away from the $5 table and go to the $25 table. Not only Coach Knight but also Coach Gilligan, Coach Woodard and the rest of the programs to build themselves into a total program that will represent in a bigger conference. The grass may seem greener on the other side of the fence but more often than not it really isn't green at all. Let's let the basketball team build something here. Let's go to the conference tourney as a perennial participant and let's go to the NCAAs. This is NOT going to happen in the Sun Belt, history has already shown us that. You think we'll recruit better if we're in a bigger conference? Ask Iowa State how they like the competition factor in the Big 12. You may cite the win over Oklahoma State this past year but remember it came one day after a lot of coaches were killed in a plane crash. That win was a fluke. In athletics, Iowa State is a joke in the Big 12 and that's what will happen to Lamar if we leave the SLC. The greatest achievements in Lamar's history have been in the SLC. Look it up. Look up how the Cards did in the American South/Sun Belt. The SLC doesn't look that bad does it?

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    Re: Sun Belt Conference Expansion

    Quote Originally Posted by "eagle eye" post=33063
    Lamar went to the Sun Belt back in the 80's when basketball and baseball were much better programs than they currently stand and it was a miserable failure. Lamar was the proverbial redheaded step child in the Sun Belt. Actually, Lamar left for the American South Conference in 1987 but when the ASC merged with the Sun Belt in 1992 then Lamar became a member of the SBC. Either way Lamar was in way over their heads right as the old Pat Foster regime was coming to an end. It should be noted that the success that Foster enjoyed after Billy Tubbs left for the University of Oklahoma was on the backs of Billy Tubbs recruits. Pat Foster turned out to be all smoke and mirrors and he bailed out of Lamar and took the University of Houston job following the departure of Guy Lewis. Foster promptly ran THAT program into the ground before being fired. Now, back to the point. We tried to move up and the momentum the basketball program generated gave people a lot of hope for the step up to the ASC. Bad move. Lamar was outclassed by bigger schools and they couldn't compete for a reasonable recruiting class. Lamar floundered first in the ASC and then the Sun Belt. That's why Lamar is back in the Southland Conference now. Maybe a step up could be in our future but let's give Coach Knight a chance to compete and a reasonable chance to succeed before we move away from the $5 table and go to the $25 table. Not only Coach Knight but also Coach Gilligan, Coach Woodard and the rest of the programs to build themselves into a total program that will represent in a bigger conference. The grass may seem greener on the other side of the fence but more often than not it really isn't green at all. Let's let the basketball team build something here. Let's go to the conference tourney as a perennial participant and let's go to the NCAAs. This is NOT going to happen in the Sun Belt, history has already shown us that. You think we'll recruit better if we're in a bigger conference? Ask Iowa State how they like the competition factor in the Big 12. You may cite the win over Oklahoma State this past year but remember it came one day after a lot of coaches were killed in a plane crash. That win was a fluke. In athletics, Iowa State is a joke in the Big 12 and that's what will happen to Lamar if we leave the SLC. The greatest achievements in Lamar's history have been in the SLC. Look it up. Look up how the Cards did in the American South/Sun Belt. The SLC doesn't look that bad does it?
    I disagree with you on a few points:

    First, are you serious about Pat Foster? He took Lamar to the NCAA tourney in his 3rd year with his recruits and won a game. Lamar went to the post-season all 6 years he was there. He went to UH to make more money, not because he was running the program into the ground. The at UH to the post-season 5 out of 6 seasons, that's not running a program into the ground. It's next to impossible to follow a coaching legend and be nearly as successful!

    Second, after Lamar left with most of the other SLC schools to form the American South, they school started having money problems. The local economy tanked, enrollment started declining, the the Lamar University System started having financial problems. Lamar started out well in the American South but money problems and several bad coaching hires later the program was a mess. If Lamar would have hired Tim Floyd or Dell Harris when they had the chance things probably would have been different.

    This thread is not about promoting Lamar to be in the Sun Belt, it's to follow along and see what the Sun Belt does. Dr. Simmons has said in the past the he'd like to see Lamar back in the Sun Belt so it's makes sense to see what the conference does. I don't think the Sun Belt is interested in bringing in anymore FCS schools at the moment anyway, plus Dr. Simmons or anyone else at Lamar has mentioned going to a FBS conference in over a year so Lamar is at least a couple of years from changing conferences (if that's their plan).
    “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” ~George Carlin

  9. #9
    eagle eye
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    Re: Sun Belt Conference Expansion

    We can agree to disagree about Pat Foster. Foster lived on Billy Tubbs recruits and his rep for most of the time he coached at Lamar. By the time Foster left Lamar I was glad. He was able to do what Guy Lewis did because he started with Lewis' recruits and he lived on the Phi Slamma Jamma reputation. In the end Houston Cougars basketball is and has been irrelevant for just shy of twenty years. IMO Foster was just not that great of a coach. He wasn't the worst coach but I think he just wasn't that good at recruiting.

    If, as you say, we are just monitoring the movement in the Sun Belt, ok. I still don't see going through the same punishment we suffered years ago right now and if you are right then it's a moot point. I am firmly behind Coach Knight. I think he is going to lead Lamar in the right direction. When, yes I said when, Lamar beats McNeese Saturday we will have twenty wins for the first time in 24 years! This is significant considering what Coach walked into. That's a right direction and if he can build the program in the admittedly weaker SLC and build some GOOD rep and cred I am behind that too. A couple of conference titles and a return to the NCAA tourney and the Knight name behind Lamar the program has nowhere to go but up.

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    Re: Sun Belt Conference Expansion

    With all the chaos going on right now in the FBS conferences I'm glad Lamar is staying out of this mess right now. If they were able to join the WAC or Sun Belt now, there's no telling how that conference would look 5 years later.

    I'm still not that excited about the SLC when it comes to basketball, but bringing in Oral Roberts is a great move IMHO. The Summit League consistently gets either a 13 or 14 seed in the NCAA tourney, there's no reason why the SLC can't do that now. I wish they would not have invited HBU and stayed at 10. In football, Lamar has some good rivalries with McNeese, SFA and SHSU. Those games should be a lot more competitive real soon.

    I like the idea of joining the Sun Belt and reuniting with the old SLC schools, but I don't think that will happen. And the Sun Belt really isn't much better in basketball than the SLC. Add in the fact that we don't know who'll be leaving and who'll be joining, it could become just as dysfunctional as the WAC in a few years.

    Just a year or two ago I thought Lamar was on the fast track to FBS and was excited about it. Now I'm glad Lamar is taking the slower path, knowing that good things are happening and will continue to happen no matter what conference Lamar is in.
    “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” ~George Carlin

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    Re: Sun Belt Conference Expansion

    The real question is what do we do if our number is called. I almost want to be like Montana and say, call us in a couple of years when things stabilize.

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    eagle eye
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    Re: Sun Belt Conference Expansion

    AMEN!

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    Re: Sun Belt Conference Expansion

    The hot topic now is that North Texas is going to be invited to the MWC/CUSA alliance then La Tech, UTSA and Texas State going to the Sun Belt. That would mean LU stays in the SLC for a while and who knows what that would mean for schools like New Mexico State, Idaho, and even UTA.
    “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” ~George Carlin

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    Re: Sun Belt Conference Expansion

    I am not sure if that is what that means. Everything is so unpredictable in this realignment talk. Even if UTSA and TxSt are going the SBC, there is nothing that says that Idaho and others dont say that you get to pick the two next WAC candidates if you stay, and then they stay. There is also the issue of the exit fees for the texas schools. None of it it very cut and dry. The WAC could offer out invites and everyone turn them down and the WAC dissolves anyway. To many possibilities. And I don't believe any smoke at this point. Especially smoke coming from Benson. At this point I think LU probably stays in the SLC even if they get the call, unless it is from the SBC.

  15. #15
    Crawfish
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    Re: Sun Belt Conference Expansion

    I think the WAC survives, but not as a football conference. As someone else alluded to, I think UNT joins the alliance, with La. Tech, Texas State joining the SBC. I believe UTSA ends up in the SBC eventually and I believe that Idaho may be forced to drop down. I am not sure what happens with NMSU, but they could end up joining the Belt as a football only member... The Belt may also lose either (or both) FIU and FAU. The Alliance seems to be focused on market sized only.

    Bottom line for Lamar; keep improving facilities, win games and increase attendence and good things will happen; but we already knew that. I have not been shy about my stance that I would like to see LU back in the Belt, but I think it will be a few years down the road.

    When the Cards play the Cajuns next season, take note of the new softball field, the indoor practice facility, baseball field, etc. Then consider that the Cajuns are playing catch up (facility wise) to many of their peers. They are planning a stadium renovation also. This will give you an idea of where Lamar needs to be.

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