App. State, Ga. Southern headed to FBS

App. State, Ga. Southern headed to FBS

New Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson is moving quickly to add members and stabilize the conference.

New Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson is moving quickly to add members in an attempt to stabilize the conference.

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]ppalachian State and Georgia Southern are moving from the FCS to the FBS.

The schools are leaving the Southern Conference to join the Sun Belt in 2015.

An official announcement is expected this week, probably on Wednesday, according to a source familiar with the negotiations. Both schools will be ineligible for the FCS playoffs in 2013.

The schools will be full-fledged Sun Belt members in all other sports in 2014, according to ESPN’s Brett McMurphy.

They join Arkansas State, Georgia State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, South Alabama, Texas State, Troy and Western Kentucky to give the Sun Belt 10 football members.

North Texas, Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee announced they were leaving for Conference USA in January.

Karl Benson, who was named Sun Belt commissioner in February,┬ásaid at the league’s basketball tournament two weeks ago that the majority of schools the conference was considering for expansion are from the FCS level.

“We want to create two geographic divisions and make sure there’s at least 10 football schools while considering the option of 12,” he said. “We also want to make sure that the schools in our league make sense geographically and are regionally aligned.”

Former WAC schools New Mexico State and Idaho could football-only targets.

“They are in need of a conference and are being assessed,” said Benson, who was WAC commissioner the past 18 years. “We are looking specifically for schools that will add stability and value. We also are exploring the possibility of football-only members, and it’s not just limited to NMSU and Idaho.

“We have created a lot of maps with different possibilities that would fit many of our needs including geography.”

The Sun Belt will have a 12-member basketball league with those 10 schools plus Arkansas-Little Rock and Texas-Arlington.

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