Sun Belt Conference

Last updated
Sun Belt Conference
Sun Belt Conference logo.svg
Established1976
Association NCAA
Division Division I
Subdivision FBS
Members12
Sports fielded
  • 18
    • men's: 9
    • women's: 9
Region Southern United States
Headquarters New Orleans, Louisiana
Commissioner Keith Gill (since 2019)
Website www.sunbeltsports.org
Locations
Sun Belt states map updated 2016.svg

The Sun Belt Conference is a collegiate athletic conference that has been affiliated with the NCAA's Division I since 1976. Originally a non-football conference, the Sun Belt began sponsoring football in 2001. Its football teams participate in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The 12 member institutions of the Sun Belt are distributed primarily across the southern United States.

National Collegiate Athletic Association Non-profit organization that regulates many American college athletes and programs

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a non-profit organization which regulates athletes of 1,268 North American institutions and conferences. It also organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and helps more than 480,000 college student-athletes who compete annually in college sports. The organization is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana.

NCAA Division I highest level of intercollegiate athletics sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association

NCAA Division I (D-I) is the highest level of intercollegiate athletics sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the United States. D-I schools include the major collegiate athletic powers, with larger budgets, more elaborate facilities and more athletic scholarships than Divisions II and III as well as many smaller schools committed to the highest level of intercollegiate competition.

College football collegiate rules version of American/Canadian football, played by student-athletes of American/Canadian colleges and universities

College football is American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities. It was through college football play that American football rules first gained popularity in the United States.

Contents

History

Map of full member institutions of the Sun Belt Conference in 2016 Sunbelt 2016.png
Map of full member institutions of the Sun Belt Conference in 2016

The Sun Belt Conference was founded on August 4, 1976 with the University of New Orleans, the University of South Alabama, Georgia State University, Jacksonville University, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and the University of South Florida. Over the next ten years the conference would add Western Kentucky University, Old Dominion University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Virginia Commonwealth University. New Orleans was forced out of the league in 1980 due to its small on-campus gymnasium that the Conference did not deem suitable for Conference competition. UNO competed as an independent before joining the newly formed American South Conference in 1987.

University of New Orleans public university in New Orleans, Louisiana; part of the University of Louisiana System

The University of New Orleans, often referred to locally as UNO, is a medium-sized, metropolitan, public research university located on the New Orleans lakefront within New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. It is a member of the University of Louisiana System and the Urban 13 association.

University of South Alabama public, national research university in Mobile, Alabama, United States; officially nicknamed "South"

The University of South Alabama (USA), officially nicknamed "South" is a public, national research university in Mobile, Alabama, United States. It was created by the Alabama Legislature in May, 1963, and replaced existing extension programs operated in Mobile by the University of Alabama. Currently, USA is divided into ten colleges and schools and includes one of Alabama's two state-supported medical schools. As of the fall semester of 2018, South Alabama has an enrollment of 14,834 students. To date, the university has awarded over 90,000 degrees.

Georgia State University public research university in Atlanta, GA, USA

Georgia State University is a public research university in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1913, it is one of the University System of Georgia's four research universities. It is also the largest institution of higher education by enrollment based in Georgia and is in the top 10 in the nation in number of students with a diverse majority-minority student population around 53,000 including approximately 33,000 undergraduate and graduate students at the main campus downtown as of 2018.

After the 1990–91 basketball season, all members of the Sun Belt, except Western Kentucky, South Alabama, and Jacksonville, departed for other conferences. The Sun Belt, including incoming member in the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, then merged with the American South Conference, made up of Arkansas State University, Louisiana Tech University, the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette), the University of Texas–Pan American (now merged into the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley), New Orleans (re-joined), Lamar University, and the University of Central Florida. Although the American South was the larger conference, the merged league retained the Sun Belt name. Central Florida left the league following the 1991–92 academic year. Lamar, Texas–Pan American, and Jacksonville departed at the end of the 1997–98 academic year. Florida International University joined the Sun Belt in 1998, and the University of Denver was added in 1999. Louisiana Tech departed after the 2000–01 academic year.

University of Arkansas at Little Rock national public research university located in Little Rock, Arkansas

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is a metropolitan public research university located in Little Rock, Arkansas, United States. Established as Little Rock Junior College by the Little Rock School District in 1927, the institution became a private four-year university under the name Little Rock University in 1957. It returned to public status in 1969 when it merged with the University of Arkansas System under its present name. The former campus of Little Rock Junior College is now (2019) the campus of Philander Smith College.

American South Conference Defunct college sports conference

The American South Conference was an NCAA Division I athletic conference that existed from 1987–88 to 1990–91. The charter members were Arkansas State University, Lamar University, Louisiana Tech University, the University of New Orleans, the University of Southwestern Louisiana and the University of Texas–Pan American. The University of Central Florida (UCF) became the only expansion school during the conference's final academic season before merging with the Sun Belt Conference. Losing all but three members, the Sun Belt merged with the American South conference. The combined conference retained the name of the older Sun Belt Conference. Craig Thompson, the American South's first and only commissioner, became commissioner of the merged Sun Belt. After serving as Sun Belt commissioner for eight years, he became commissioner of the newly formed Mountain West Conference in 1998.

Arkansas State University public university in Arkansas, United States

Arkansas State University is a public research university in Jonesboro, Arkansas. It is the flagship campus of the Arkansas State University System and the second largest university in Arkansas by enrollment. It was founded in 1909 and is located atop 1,376 acres (5.6 km2) on Crowley's Ridge. Arkansas State has Sun Belt rivalries with all West Division schools. Their primary Sun Belt rivals are Little Rock, Louisiana-Monroe, and Louisiana.

The Sun Belt Conference headquarters are currently housed at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mercedes-Benz Superdome Poydras bike.JPG
The Sun Belt Conference headquarters are currently housed at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The conference did not sponsor football until 2001, when the league added former Big West Conference members New Mexico State University and the University of North Texas and former Ohio Valley Conference member (an FBS Independent on football) Middle Tennessee State University as full members (all three of them joined a year earlier for all sports in the 2000-01 school year) and added FBS Independent University of Louisiana at Monroe and Big West member University of Idaho as "football-only" members. These new members gave the Sun Belt seven football playing members in their first season, as Arkansas State and Louisiana–Lafayette were already full members which sponsored football. Another Big West school, Utah State University, was added as a "football-only" member in 2003, then departed in 2005 with Idaho and New Mexico State for the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).

Big West Conference U.S. college sports conference

The Big West Conference (BWC) is an American collegiate athletic conference whose member institutions participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I. The conference was originally formed in 1969 as the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (PCAA) and in 1988 was renamed the Big West Conference. The conference stopped sponsoring college football after the 2000 season.

New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University is a public research university, with a main campus in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Founded in 1888, it is the oldest public institution of higher education in the state of New Mexico, and is one of two flagship universities in New Mexico. Total enrollment across all campuses as of 2017 was 24580, with branch campuses in Alamogordo, Carlsbad, Doña Ana County and Grants, and with extension and research centers across New Mexico.

University of North Texas public research university based in Denton, TX, USA

The University of North Texas (UNT) is a public research university in Denton, Texas. Eleven colleges, two schools, an early admissions math and science academy for exceptional high-school-age students from across the state, and a library system comprise the university core. Its research is driven by about 38 doctoral degree programs. North Texas was founded as a nonsectarian, coeducational, private teachers college in 1890 and was formally adopted by the state 11 years later. UNT is the flagship institution of the University of North Texas System, which includes additional universities in Dallas and Fort Worth. UNT also has a satellite campus in Frisco.

In 2004, Troy University became a "football-only" member until the Trojans joined the conference in all sports, effectively in the 2005-06 academic year. In 2005, Florida Atlantic became a "football-only" member until the Owls joined the conference in all sports, effectively in the 2006-07 academic year. In 2006, Louisiana–Monroe joined the conference as an all-sports full member when the Warhawks left their former home, the Southland Conference.

Troy University university in Alabama

Troy University is a comprehensive public university that is located in Troy, Alabama, United States. It was founded on February 26, 1887 as Troy State Normal School within the Alabama State University System by an Act of the Alabama Legislature. It is the flagship university of the Troy University System. Troy University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) to award associate, baccalaureate, master's, education specialist, and doctoral degrees.

Florida Atlantic University A state run higher education institution located in Boca Raton, Florida

Florida Atlantic University is a public university in Boca Raton, Florida, with five satellite campuses in the Florida cities of Dania Beach, Davie, Fort Lauderdale, Jupiter, and in Fort Pierce at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution. FAU belongs to the 12-campus State University System of Florida and serves South Florida, which has more than five million people and spans more than 100 miles (160 km) of coastline. Florida Atlantic University is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a research university with high research activity. The university offers more than 170 undergraduate and graduate degree programs within its 10 colleges. Programs of study cover arts and humanities, the sciences, medicine, nursing, accounting, business, education, public administration, social work, architecture, engineering, and computer science.

Southland Conference

The Southland Conference, abbreviated to SLC, is a collegiate athletic conference which operates in the South Central United States. It participates in the NCAA's Division I for all sports; for football, it participates in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The Southland sponsors 17 sports, nine for women and eight for men, and is governed by a presidential Board of Directors and an Advisory Council of athletic and academic administrators. Tom Burnett was named the Southland's sixth commissioner on Dec. 23, 2002. From 1996 to 2002, for football only, the Southland Conference was known as the Southland Football League.

Longtime Sun Belt member Western Kentucky joined the Sun Belt's football conference in 2009 after its Board of Regents voted to upgrade the school's football program to Division I FBS. [1]

Western Kentucky University Public university in Bowling Green, KY, USA

Western Kentucky University is a public university in Bowling Green, Kentucky, United States. It was founded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 1906, though its roots reach back a quarter-century earlier. In the fall 2016 semester, enrollment was approximately 20,000.

On November 11, 2009, New Orleans announced it was investigating a move from Division I to the NCAA's Division III. In order to maintain athletic scholarships, UNO instead opted for entry into Division II. On April 20, 2011, UNO officially received transition approval from the NCAA Division II Membership Committee. [2] (UNO later decided to remain in Division I, and joined the Southland Conference in 2013.)

Early 2010s realignment

The former Sun Belt Conference logo used until its rebranding in 2013 SunBeltConference 100.png
The former Sun Belt Conference logo used until its rebranding in 2013

On April 9, 2012, Georgia State, one of the founding members of the Sun Belt Conference, announced that it would be returning to the conference as a full member in 2013. As part of the move, the football program began a transition from FCS to FBS in the 2012 season; it played a full Sun Belt schedule as a "transitional" FBS member in 2013, and became a full FBS member, with bowl eligibility, in 2014. [3] On May 2, 2012, Texas State University announced it would leave the WAC after just one year and join the Sun Belt in July 2013 to begin play for the 2013–14 academic year. At the press conference to announce Texas State's addition, Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson also hinted that more changes could be on the way for the conference. [4] On May 25, 2012, the conference announced that the University of Texas at Arlington had accepted an invitation to join the conference and would become a full member by 2013. [5] UT Arlington does not field a football team.

On May 4, 2012, FIU and North Texas announced that they would be leaving the Sun Belt for Conference USA on July 1, 2013 as part of a Conference USA expansion effort involving four other schools. [6] On November 29, 2012, Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee State announced that they would also leave the Sun Belt for Conference USA. [7] The move for Florida Atlantic and MTSU was originally scheduled to take place in 2014, however, the two schools announced on January 28, 2013 that they would leave for Conference USA a year early, departing on July 1, 2013 with FIU and North Texas. Western Kentucky also accepted an invitation to join Conference USA on April 1, 2013, and departed from the Sun Belt on July 1, 2014. [8]

These moves depleted the Sun Belt and made the need to expand their membership more urgent than ever, as the Sun Belt was left with ten full members and only eight members that sponsor football (the minimum number required for a conference to sponsor football at the FBS level) for the 2013 season. Appalachian State University accepted an invitation on March 27, 2013 to join the Sun Belt effective July 1, 2014. [9] Georgia Southern University accepted a similar Sun Belt invitation at the same time as Appalachian State. [10] Appalachian State and Georgia Southern both joined for all sports from the Southern Conference on July 1, 2014. Both schools had been very successful within the Football Championship Subdivision, combining to win nine national championships since 1985. They upgraded to the Football Bowl Subdivision, and were eligible for Sun Belt conference championships in 2014, but were not postseason-eligible in football until 2015.

The Sun Belt also granted football-only invites to Idaho and New Mexico State on March 28, 2013. [11] Idaho and New Mexico State were both former Sun Belt members (Idaho for football only, New Mexico State for all sports) from 2001 to 2005. The large number of defections from the WAC forced that conference to drop football after the 2012 season. Idaho and New Mexico State were the only remaining WAC members that sponsored football, and competed as FBS independents for the 2013 season before competing in the Sun Belt in 2014. Idaho is located by far the farthest away from the other Sun Belt conference members, but it was rejected by the Mountain West Conference, [12] leaving it with no other choice. [13] [14]

On September 1, 2015, Coastal Carolina University accepted an invitation to join the Sun Belt Conference. The university joined in all sports except for football starting July 1, 2016, with football joining in 2017. [15]

The conference announced on March 1, 2016, that the affiliation agreement with Idaho and New Mexico State would not be extended past the 2017 season. [16]

The conference announced that beginning in 2018, the conference (10 teams) will be divided into two divisions for football: East: Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, and Troy; West: Arkansas State, Louisiana, Louisiana–Monroe, South Alabama, and Texas State. The winner of each division will meet in the Sun Belt Championship game. [17]

Current members

InstitutionLocationFoundedJoinedEnrollmentNicknameColors
Appalachian State University Boone, North Carolina 1899201419,108 Mountaineers          
Arkansas State University Jonesboro, Arkansas 1909199114,085 Red Wolves          
Coastal Carolina University Conway, South Carolina 1954201610,641 Chanticleers               
Georgia Southern University Statesboro, Georgia 1906201426,408 Eagles          
Georgia State University Atlanta, Georgia 19131976;
2013
52,814 Panthers          
University of Arkansas at Little Rock Little Rock, Arkansas 1927199111,624 Trojans               
University of Louisiana at Lafayette Lafayette, Louisiana 1898199119,118 Ragin' Cajuns          
University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe, Louisiana 193120069,181 Warhawks          
University of South Alabama Mobile, Alabama 1963197615,569 Jaguars               
Texas State University San Marcos, Texas 1899201338,666 Bobcats          
University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, Texas 1895201343,939 Mavericks               
Troy University Troy, Alabama 1887200517,971 Trojans               

Associate members

InstitutionLocationFoundedJoinedEnrollmentNicknameColorsSportPrimary
Conference
Howard University Washington, D.C. 1867201410,573 Bison          soccer (M) Mid-Eastern Athletic
University of Central Arkansas Conway, Arkansas 1907201913,863 Bears and Sugar Bears          soccer (M) Southland

The University of Central Arkansas will join the league as an Associate member in men's soccer beginning with the 2019-20 academic year.

Former members

InstitutionLocationFoundedNicknameJoinedLeftCurrent
Conference
University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, Alabama 1969 Blazers 19791991 C-USA
University of Central Florida Orlando, Florida 1963 Knights 19911992 The American
University of Denver Denver, Colorado 1864 Pioneers 19992012 The Summit
Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, Florida 1961 Owls 20052013 C-USA
Florida International University Miami, Florida 1965 Panthers 19982013 C-USA
Jacksonville University Jacksonville, Florida 1934 Dolphins 19761998 Atlantic Sun
Lamar University Beaumont, Texas 1923 Cardinals 19911998 Southland
Louisiana Tech University Ruston, Louisiana 1894 Bulldogs & Lady Techsters 19912001 C-USA
Middle Tennessee State University Murfreesboro, Tennessee 1911 Blue Raiders 20002013 C-USA
New Mexico State University Las Cruces, New Mexico 1888 Aggies 20002005 WAC (non-FB)
University of New Orleans New Orleans, Louisiana 1958 Privateers 1976;
1991
1980;
2010
Southland
University of North Carolina at Charlotte Charlotte, North Carolina 1946 49ers 19761991 C-USA
University of North Texas Denton, Texas 1890 Mean Green 20002013 C-USA
Old Dominion University Norfolk, Virginia 1930 Monarchs 19821991 C-USA
University of South Florida Tampa, Florida 1956 Bulls 19761991 The American
University of Texas–Pan American Edinburg, Texas 1927 Broncs 19911998 WAC
Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, Virginia 1838 Rams 19791991 Atlantic 10
Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, Kentucky 1906 Hilltoppers & Lady Toppers 19822014 C-USA

Former affiliate members

InstitutionLocationFoundedNicknameJoinedLeftSportConference
in Former
Sun Belt Sport [lower-alpha 1]
Hartwick College Oneonta, New York 1797 Hawks 20142018soccer (M) Empire 8
(NCAA D-III)
University of Idaho Moscow, Idaho 1889 Vandals 2001;
2014
2005;
2018
football Big Sky
New Jersey Institute of Technology Newark, New Jersey 1881 Highlanders 20142016soccer (M) Atlantic Sun
New Mexico State University Las Cruces, New Mexico 1888 Aggies 2000
2014
2005
2018
football FBS independent
Utah State University Logan, Utah 1888 Aggies 20032005football Mountain West
  1. In all cases except that of New Mexico State, this matches the school's primary conference affiliation. New Mexico State is a full member of the non-football Western Athletic Conference.

Membership timeline

Sun Belt Conference

 Full members (all sports)  Full members (non-football)  Associate members (football-only)  Associate members (other) 

Commissioners

In addition to the five Sun Belt commissioners, three future league leaders served on the Sun Belt staff prior to becoming conference commissioners, including Doug Elgin (Missouri Valley), John Iamarino (Northeast, Southern) and Tom Burnett (Southland).

On October 12, 2011, ESPN reported that Wright Waters would retire, effective July 1, 2012. [18] On February 15, 2012, Karl Benson was hired as the new commissioner of the Sun Belt, after having been the commissioner of the Western Athletic Conference for 17 years. Waters would later move his departure date to March 15, allowing Benson to take over at that time. [3]

Keith Gill was named the commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference on March 18, 2019.[7][8][9][10][11]

Sports

The Sun Belt Conference sponsors championship competition in nine men's and nine women's NCAA sanctioned sports. [19]

SportMen'sWomen's
Baseball
Green check.svg
Basketball
Green check.svg
Green check.svg
Cross Country
Green check.svg
Green check.svg
Football
Green check.svg
Golf
Green check.svg
Green check.svg
Soccer
Green check.svg
Green check.svg
Softball
Green check.svg
Tennis
Green check.svg
Green check.svg
Track & Field Indoor
Green check.svg
Green check.svg
Track & Field Outdoor
Green check.svg
Green check.svg
Volleyball
Green check.svg

Men's sponsored sports by school

Member-by-member sponsorship of the nine men's SBC sports for the 2018–19 academic year.

SchoolBaseballBasketballCross
Country
FootballGolfSoccerTennisTrack
& Field
Indoor
Track
& Field
Outdoor
Total
Sun Belt
Sports
Appalachian StateGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg9
Arkansas StateGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgRed x.svgRed x.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg7
Coastal CarolinaGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgRed x.svgGreen check.svg8
Georgia SouthernGreen check.svgGreen check.svgRed x.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgRed x.svgRed x.svg6
Georgia StateGreen check.svgGreen check.svgRed x.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgRed x.svgRed x.svg6
Little RockGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgRed x.svgGreen check.svgRed x.svgRed x.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg6
LouisianaGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgRed x.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg8
Louisiana–MonroeGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgRed x.svgRed x.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg7
South AlabamaGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgRed x.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg8
Texas StateGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgRed x.svgRed x.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg7
UT ArlingtonGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgRed x.svgGreen check.svgRed x.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg7
TroyGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgRed x.svgGreen check.svgRed x.svgGreen check.svg7
Totals12121010124881086
Affiliate Members
HowardGreen check.svg1
Future Affiliate
Central ArkansasGreen check.svg1

Men's varsity sports not sponsored by the Sun Belt Conference which are played by Sun Belt schools:

SchoolWrestling
Appalachian State SoCon
Little Rock [lower-alpha 1]
  1. Will add wrestling in 2019–20; conference affiliation yet to be announced. [20]

Women's sponsored sports by school

Member-by-member sponsorship of the nine women's SBC sports for the 2018–19 academic year.

SchoolBasketballCross
Country
GolfSoccerSoftballTennisTrack
& Field
Indoor
Track
& Field
Outdoor
VolleyballTotal
Sun Belt
Sports
Appalachian StateGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg9
Arkansas StateGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgRed x.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg8
Coastal CarolinaGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg9
Georgia SouthernGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg9
Georgia StateGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg9
Little RockGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgRed x.svgRed x.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg7
LouisianaGreen check.svgGreen check.svgRed x.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg8
Louisiana–MonroeGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg9
South AlabamaGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg9
Texas StateGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg9
UT ArlingtonGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgRed x.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg8
TroyGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg9
Totals121211111011121212103

Women's varsity sports not sponsored by the Sun Belt Conference which are played by Sun Belt schools:

SchoolBeach
Volleyball
BowlingField
Hockey
LacrosseRifleSwimming
& Diving
Appalachian State MAC
Arkansas State SBL
Coastal Carolina ASUN ASUN
Georgia Southern SoCon CCSA
Georgia State CCSA
Little Rock MVC
Louisiana–MonroeIND

Championships

Current Sun Belt champions

    NCAA champions

    No current Sun Belt member has won an NCAA Division I team championship while a member of the conference. Four current members have won NCAA Division I team championships prior to joining the conference:

    SchoolNCAA
    titles
    SportYears
    Georgia Southern
    6
    Football (Division I-AA/FCS) 198519861989199019992000
    Appalachian State
    3
    Football (Division I-AA/FCS) 200520062007
    Louisiana–Monroe
    1
    Football (Division I-AA/FCS) 1987
    Coastal Carolina
    1
    Baseball 2016

    See also: List of NCAA schools with the most NCAA Division I championships, List of NCAA schools with the most Division I national championships, and NCAA Division I FBS Conferences

    Football

    For more information see Sun Belt Conference football. For the upcoming season, see 2019 Sun Belt Conference football season.

    West DivisionEast Division
    Arkansas State Appalachian State
    Louisiana Coastal Carolina
    Louisiana-Monroe Georgia Southern
    South Alabama Georgia State
    Texas State Troy

    The Sun Belt first began sponsoring football in 2001. It originally consisted of seven football playing schools, three of which are still members of the conference. Up until 2009, the conference only had a contract with one bowl, the New Orleans Bowl. Following the Sun Belt's improved football success and geographical membership changes, other bowls began to sign contracts with the Sun Belt Conference. The conference currently has five bowl game tie-ins.

    Throughout the years, the conference has experienced of flux in membership changes, similar to many other FBS conferences. The conference announced that beginning in 2018, the conference (10 teams after the departure of Idaho and New Mexico State) [21] will be divided into two divisions for football: East: Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, and Troy; West: Arkansas State, Louisiana, Louisiana–Monroe, South Alabama, and Texas State. The winner of each division will meet in the Sun Belt Championship game. [22]

    TeamFirst
    Season
    All-Time
    Record
    All-Time
    Win %
    Bowl
    Appearances
    Bowl
    Record
    All-Time
    Conference
    Titles
    Current
    Head Coach
    Appalachian State 1928605–336–28.63933–019 Eliah Drinkwitz
    Arkansas State 1911465–482–37.49183–514 Blake Anderson
    Coastal Carolina 2003117–63–0.65000–07 Jamey Chadwell
    Georgia Southern 1923379–217–10.63411–011 Chad Lunsford
    Georgia State 201027–67–0.28721–10 Shawn Elliott
    Louisiana 1901512–551–34.48285–313 Billy Napier
    Louisiana–Monroe 1951304–415–8.42410–15 Matt Viator
    South Alabama 200952–50–0.51020–20 Steve Campbell
    Texas State 1904498–418–30.53000–012 Jake Spavital
    Troy 1909529–401–28.56774–321 Neal Brown

    [23]

    Sun Belt champions

    Starting in the 2018 NCAA Division I FBS Season, the Sun Belt Conference will host a football championship game. [24]

    SeasonChampionConference
    Record
    2001Middle Tennessee State
    North Texas
    5–1
    2002North Texas
    6–0
    2003North Texas
    7–0
    2004North Texas
    7–0
    2005Arkansas State
    Louisiana–Lafayette
    Louisiana–Monroe
    5–2
    2006 Middle Tennessee State
    Troy
    6–1
    2007 Florida Atlantic
    Troy
    6–1
    2008 Troy
    6–1
    2009 Troy
    8–0
    2010 Florida International
    Troy
    6–2
    2011 Arkansas State
    8–0
    2012 Arkansas State
    7–1
    2013* Arkansas State
    5–2
    2014 Georgia Southern
    8–0
    2015 Arkansas State
    8–0
    2016 Appalachian State
    Arkansas State
    7–1
    2017 Appalachian State
    Troy
    7–1
    2018 Appalachian State
    7–1

    Bowl games

    NameLocationOpposing
    conference
    New Orleans Bowl New Orleans, Louisiana CUSA
    Dollar General Bowl Mobile, Alabama MAC
    Camellia Bowl Montgomery, Alabama MAC
    Cure Bowl Orlando, Florida AAC
    Arizona Bowl Tucson, Arizona MWC

    Football rivalries

    Conference play
    TeamsRivalry
    Name
    TrophyMeetings
    (last)
    RecordSeries
    Leader
    Appalachian State Georgia Southern Deeper Than Hate 34
    (2018)
    19–14-1Appalachian State
    Louisiana Louisiana–Monroe Battle on the Bayou Wooden Boot52
    (2017)
    27–25Louisiana
    Georgia State Georgia Southern Modern Day Hate 5
    (2018)
    3–2Georgia State
    South Alabama Troy Battle for the Belt Belt6
    (2017)
    4–3Troy
    Non-conference play
    TeamsRivalry
    Name
    TrophyMeetings
    (last)
    RecordSeries
    Leader
    Arkansas State Memphis Paint Bucket Bowl 59
    (2013)
    30–24–5Memphis
    Louisiana Lamar Sabine Shoe 34
    (2012)
    22–12Louisiana
    Louisiana McNeese State Cajun Crown 37
    (2007)
    20–15–2McNeese State
    Louisiana Southeastern Louisiana Cypress Mug 38
    (1981)
    18–17–3Louisiana
    Texas State Nicholls State Battle for the Paddle Paddle30
    (2011)
    16–14Nicholls State
    Troy Middle Tennessee Battle for the Palladium Palladium20
    (2012)
    12–8Middle Tennessee
    Troy UAB 12
    (2014)
    7–5Troy
    Appalachian State Western Carolina Battle for the Old Mountain Jug Old Mountain Jug 78

    (2013)

    59–18–1Appalachian State

    Basketball

    The Sun Belt Conference Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments are held in the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana every March. [26] Winners of the tournaments earn automatic bids to their respective NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament.

    SeasonMen's
    Regular Season
    Champion
    Men's
    Tournament
    Champion
    Women's
    Regular Season
    Champion
    Women's
    Tournament
    Champion
    1977 North Carolina–Charlotte North Carolina–Charlotte No Regular SeasonNo Tournament
    1978 North Carolina–Charlotte New Orleans No Regular SeasonNo Tournament
    1979 South Alabama Jacksonville No Regular SeasonNo Tournament
    1980 South Alabama Virginia Commonwealth No Regular SeasonNo Tournament
    1981 Virginia Commonwealth Virginia Commonwealth No Regular SeasonNo Tournament
    1982 Alabama–Birmingham Alabama–Birmingham No Regular SeasonNo Tournament
    1983 Virginia Commonwealth Alabama–Birmingham Old Dominion Old Dominion
    1984 Virginia Commonwealth Alabama–Birmingham Old Dominion Old Dominion
    1985 Virginia Commonwealth Virginia Commonwealth Old Dominion Old Dominion
    1986 Old Dominion Jacksonville Western Kentucky Western Kentucky
    1987 Western Kentucky Alabama–Birmingham Old Dominion Old Dominion
    1988 North Carolina–Charlotte North Carolina–Charlotte Old Dominion Western Kentucky
    1989 South Alabama South Alabama Old Dominion Western Kentucky
    1990 Alabama–Birmingham South Florida Alabama–Birmingham Old Dominion
    1991 South Alabama South Alabama Alabama–Birmingham Western Kentucky
    1992 Southwestern Louisiana Southwestern Louisiana Western Kentucky Western Kentucky
    1993 New Orleans Western Kentucky Western Kentucky Western Kentucky
    1994 Western Kentucky Southwestern Louisiana Louisiana Tech Louisiana Tech
    1995 Western Kentucky Western Kentucky Louisiana Tech Western Kentucky
    1996 Arkansas–Little Rock New Orleans Louisiana Tech Louisiana Tech
    1997 South Alabama South Alabama Louisiana Tech Louisiana Tech
    1998 South Alabama South Alabama Louisiana Tech Louisiana Tech
    1999 Louisiana Tech Arkansas State Louisiana Tech Louisiana Tech
    2000 Louisiana–Lafayette Louisiana–Lafayette Louisiana Tech Louisiana Tech
    2001 Western Kentucky Western Kentucky Louisiana Tech Louisiana Tech
    2002 Western Kentucky Western Kentucky Florida International Florida International
    2003 Western Kentucky Western Kentucky Western Kentucky Western Kentucky
    2004VacatedVacated South Alabama Middle Tennessee State
    2005 Denver Vacated Western Kentucky Middle Tennessee State
    2006 Western Kentucky South Alabama Western Kentucky Middle Tennessee State
    2007 South Alabama North Texas Middle Tennessee State Middle Tennessee State
    2008 South Alabama Western Kentucky Western Kentucky Western Kentucky
    2009 Western Kentucky Western Kentucky Middle Tennessee State Middle Tennessee State
    2010 Troy North Texas Arkansas–Little Rock Middle Tennessee State
    2011 Florida Atlantic Arkansas–Little Rock Middle Tennessee State
    Arkansas–Little Rock
    Arkansas–Little Rock
    2012 Middle Tennessee State Western Kentucky Middle Tennessee State Arkansas–Little Rock
    2013 Middle Tennessee State Western Kentucky Middle Tennessee State Arkansas–Little Rock
    2014 Georgia State Louisiana–Lafayette Arkansas State Western Kentucky
    2015 Georgia State Georgia State Arkansas–Little Rock Arkansas–Little Rock
    2016 Little Rock Little Rock Arkansas State Troy
    2017 UT Arlington Troy Little Rock Troy
    2018 Louisiana Georgia State Little Rock Little Rock

    Baseball

    Facilities

    SchoolFootball
    Stadium
    CapacityBasketball
    Arena
    CapacityBaseball
    Stadium
    Capacity
    Appalachian State Kidd Brewer Stadium 30,000 Holmes Center 8,325 Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium 1,000 [27]
    Arkansas State Centennial Bank Stadium 33,410 First National Bank Arena 10,563 Tomlinson Stadium–Kell Field 1,200 [28]
    Coastal Carolina Brooks Stadium 20,000 HTC Center 3,370 Springs Brooks Stadium - Vrooman Field 5,400 [29]
    Georgia Southern Paulson Stadium 25,000 Hanner Fieldhouse 4,325 [30] J. I. Clements Stadium 3,000
    Georgia State Georgia State Stadium 24,333 GSU Sports Arena 3,854 [31] GSU Baseball Complex 1,092
    Little Rock
    Non-football school
    Jack Stephens Center [lower-alpha 1] 5,600 [32] Gary Hogan Field 2,550
    Louisiana Cajun Field 41,426 Cajundome [lower-alpha 2] 12,068 M.L. Tigue Moore Field 6,000
    Louisiana–Monroe Malone Stadium 30,427 Fant–Ewing Coliseum 7,085 Warhawk Field 1,800
    South Alabama Ladd–Peebles Stadium [lower-alpha 3] 40,646 Mitchell Center 10,041 Eddie Stanky Field 4,500
    Texas State Jim Wacker Field at Bobcat Stadium 30,000 Strahan Coliseum 9,000 Bobcat Ballpark 2,000
    UT Arlington
    Non-football school
    College Park Center 7,000 Clay Gould Ballpark 1,600
    Troy Veterans Memorial Stadium 30,420 Trojan Arena 6,000 [33] Riddle–Pace Field 2,000
    Notes
    1. Little Rock normally plays home basketball games on campus but occasionally plays at Verizon Arena, soon to be renamed with locally based Simmons Bank as the new sponsor, in North Little Rock.
    2. Louisiana's women's basketball team primarily plays at the Cajundome but occasionally plays at Earl K. Long Gymnasium on the main campus.
    3. The 2019 season is the last for South Alabama at Ladd–Peebles Stadium. The university expects to open the new on-campus Hancock Whitney Stadium (capacity 25,000) in time for the 2020 football season.

    Academics

    Two of the Sun Belt's member schools, Georgia State and UT Arlington are doctorate-granting universities with "very high research activity," the highest classification given by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. [34]

    Appalachian State is also currently ranked as one of the Top 10 regional schools in the South by the U.S. News & World Report .

    UniversityAffiliation Carnegie [34] Endowment [35] US News [36] Forbes [37]
    Appalachian State University Public (UNC)315
    Arkansas State University Public (ASU System)
    Coastal Carolina University Public
    Georgia Southern University Public (USG System)
    Georgia State University Public (USG System)
    University of Arkansas at Little Rock Public (UA System)
    University of Louisiana at Lafayette Public (UL System)
    University of Louisiana at Monroe Public (UL System)
    University of South Alabama Public
    Texas State University Public (TSU System)
    University of Texas at Arlington Public (UT System)
    Troy University Public (TU System)

    Notes

    1. Arkansas State is not ranked in the 2017 Forbes America's Best 650 Colleges rankings.
    2. Coastal Carolina is not ranked in the 2017 Forbes America's Best 650 Colleges rankings.
    3. Louisiana-Monroe is not ranked in the 2017 Forbes America's Best 650 Colleges rankings.

    Related Research Articles

    Atlantic Sun Conference US college sports league

    The Atlantic Sun Conference, branded as the ASUN Conference, is a collegiate athletic conference operating mostly in the Southeastern United States. The league participates at the NCAA Division I level, and does not sponsor football. Originally established as the Trans America Athletic Conference (TAAC) in 1978, its headquarters are located in Macon, Georgia.

    2010–13 Western Athletic Conference realignment

    The 2010–13 Western Athletic Conference realignment refers to the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) dealing with several proposed and actual conference expansion and reduction plans among various NCAA conferences and institutions from 2010 to 2013. Moves involving the WAC were a significant part of a much larger NCAA conference realignment in which it was one of the most impacted conferences. Of the nine members of the WAC in 2010, only two—the University of Idaho and New Mexico State University—remained in the conference beyond the 2012–13 school year, and Idaho departed for the Big Sky Conference after the 2013–14 school year. Five pre-2010 members are now all-sports members of the Mountain West Conference (MW), and another joined the MW for football only while placing most of its other sports in the Big West Conference. Another pre-2010 member joined Conference USA (C-USA) in July 2013.

    2010–13 Sun Belt Conference realignment

    The 2010–13 Sun Belt Conference realignment refers to the Sun Belt Conference dealing with several proposed and actual conference expansion and reduction plans among various NCAA conferences and institutions from 2010 to 2013.

    The Sun Belt Conference is a conference of 14 universities which participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I. Currently, 10 full member schools play football in the conference. Although the Sun Belt was formed in 1976, it did not sponsor football until 2001.

    The 2014 Sun Belt Conference football season was the 14th college football season for the Sun Belt Conference. During the 2014 season, eleven schools competed in Sun Belt football: Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Idaho, Louisiana–Lafayette, Louisiana–Monroe, New Mexico State, South Alabama, Texas State, and Troy.

    2015 Appalachian State Mountaineers football team

    The 2015 Appalachian State Mountaineers football team represented Appalachian State University in the 2015 NCAA Division I FBS football season. They were led by third-year head coach Scott Satterfield and played their home games at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone, North Carolina. This season was the Mountaineers second season in the Sun Belt Conference, and their first as a full, bowl-eligible member of the Football Bowl Subdivision. They finished the season 11–2, 7–1 in Sun Belt play to finish in second place. They were invited to their first ever bowl game, the Camellia Bowl, where they defeated Ohio.

    2015 Arkansas State Red Wolves football team

    The 2015 Arkansas State Red Wolves football team represented Arkansas State University in the 2015 NCAA Division I FBS football season. They were led by head coach Blake Anderson, who was the first Red Wolves head coach since Steve Roberts in 2002 to return for a second season at Arkansas State. The Red Wolves, who play their home games at Centennial Bank Stadium in Jonesboro, Arkansas, are members of the Sun Belt Conference. The Red Wolves finished the regular season 9–3, 8–0 in Sun Belt play to win their fourth Sun Belt Championship in five seasons. In the New Orleans Bowl, the Red Wolves fell to Louisiana Tech 28–47.

    The 2015 Idaho Vandals football team represented the University of Idaho in the 2015 NCAA Division I FBS football season. They were led by third year head coach Paul Petrino and played their home games at Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho. The Vandals were football only members the Sun Belt Conference. They finished the season 4–8, 3–5 in Sun Belt play to finish in a five way tie for fifth place.

    2015 New Mexico State Aggies football team

    The 2015 New Mexico State Aggies football team represented New Mexico State University in the 2015 NCAA Division I FBS football season. They were led by third-year head coach Doug Martin and played their home games at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The Aggies were football-only members of the Sun Belt Conference. They finished the season 3–9, 3–5 in Sun Belt play to finish in a five way tie for fifth place.

    The 2015 South Alabama Jaguars football team represented the University of South Alabama in the 2015 NCAA Division I FBS football season. They were led by seventh-year head coach Joey Jones and played their home games at Ladd–Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. The Jaguars were members of the Sun Belt Conference. They finished the season 5–7, 3–5 in Sun Belt play to finish in a five way tie for fifth place.

    2015 Texas State Bobcats football team

    The 2015 Texas State Bobcats football team represented Texas State University in the 2015 NCAA Division I FBS football season. They were led by fifth-year head coach Dennis Franchione and played their home games at Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos, Texas. The Bobcats were members of the Sun Belt Conference. They finished the season 3–9, 2–6 in Sun Belt play to finish in tenth place.

    The 2015 Sun Belt Conference football season was the 15th college football season for the Sun Belt Conference. During the 2015 season, eleven schools competed in Sun Belt football: Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, Idaho, Louisiana–Lafayette, Louisiana–Monroe, New Mexico State, South Alabama, Texas State and Troy.

    2016 Georgia State Panthers football team

    The 2016 Georgia State Panthers football team represented Georgia State University (GSU) in the 2016 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Panthers were led by fourth-year head coach Trent Miles for the first 10 games of the year until he was fired on November 12, 2016 after a 2–8 record. They were led by interim head coach Tim Lappano for the remainder of the season. They played their home games at the Georgia Dome. The 2016 season was the Panthers' fourth in the Sun Belt Conference and seventh since starting football. This was also the Panthers final season in the Georgia Dome, as the stadium was demolished on November 20, 2017 following the opening of Mercedes-Benz Stadium on August 26 of the same year.

    2016 Appalachian State Mountaineers football team

    The 2016 Appalachian State Mountaineers football team represented Appalachian State University in the 2016 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Mountaineers played their home games at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone, North Carolina and competed in the Sun Belt Conference. They were led by fourth-year head coach Scott Satterfield. They finished the season 10–3, 7–1 in Sun Belt play to win a share of the Sun Belt championship with Arkansas State. They were invited to the Camellia Bowl where they defeated Toledo.

    2016 Arkansas State Red Wolves football team

    The 2016 Arkansas State Red Wolves football team represented Arkansas State Red Wolves in the 2016 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Red Wolves played their home games at Centennial Bank Stadium in Jonesboro, Arkansas and competed in the Sun Belt Conference. They were led by third-year head coach Blake Anderson.

    2016 Texas State Bobcats football team

    The 2016 Texas State Bobcats football team represented Texas State University in the 2016 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Bobcats played their home games at Bobcat Stadium in San Marcos, Texas and competed in the Sun Belt Conference. They were led by first-year head coach Everett Withers. The Bobcats were members of the Sun Belt Conference. They finished the season 2–10, 0–8 in Sun Belt play to finish in last place.

    2016 Troy Trojans football team

    The 2016 Troy Trojans football team represented Troy University in the 2016 NCAA Division I FBS football season. They were led by second-year head coach Neal Brown and played their home games at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Troy, Alabama. The Trojans were members of the Sun Belt Conference. They finished the season 10–3, 6–2 in Sun Belt play to finish in a two-way tie for third place. They were invited to the Dollar General Bowl where they defeated Ohio. This was the first 10-win season ever for Troy since joining the FBS in 2001. It was also the first season that Troy had received a Top 25 ranking since joining the FBS in 2001.

    The 2016 Sun Belt Conference football season was the 16th season in which the Sun Belt Conference operated a football league, and was part of the 2016 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The season began on September 1 with Appalachian State facing Tennessee. This was the third season for the Sun Belt since realignment that took effect in 2014, which added the tenth and eleventh members — Idaho and New Mexico State. Both teams were previously independents before joining the conference. The Sun Belt Conference is a "Group of Five" conference under the College Football Playoff format along with the American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, and the Mountain West Conference.

    2017 Appalachian State Mountaineers football team

    The 2017 Appalachian State Mountaineers football team represented Appalachian State University in the 2017 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Mountaineers played their home games at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone, North Carolina, and competed in the Sun Belt Conference. They were led by fifth-year head coach Scott Satterfield. They finished the season 9–4, 7–1 in Sun Belt play to earn a share of the Sun Belt championship for the second consecutive year. They received an invite to the Dollar General Bowl where they defeated Toledo for the second consecutive year in a bowl game.

    2018 Sun Belt Conference Football Championship Game

    The inaugural Sun Belt Conference Championship Game was played on December 1, 2018, between the Mountaineers of Appalachian State and the Ragin' Cajuns from Louisiana. The game was played at Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone, North Carolina, due to Appalachian State's better conference record. This was the second time these teams played this year; the first meeting finished 27–17 in the Mountaineers' favor. The winner of the game would play in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl while the loser would play in the Cure Bowl.

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