Georgia State is hosting a 2 p.m. press conference today to announce that it has agreed to join the Sun Belt Conference in 2013.
Here are a few basic facts about the Sun Belt, starting with the fact that it’s two words: Sun Belt, not Sunbelt.
Sun Belt Conference
Though there may be more changes between now and when Georgia State joins in 2013, the members of the Sun Belt Conference are:
Denver is leaving after the 2012-13 season.
History of the Sun Belt Conference
Georgia State was a charter member of the Sun Belt, along with New Orleans, South Alabama, Jacksonville, North Carolina-Charlotte and South Florida. Georgia State left to join the Trans America Athletic Conference in 1981. That conference eventually changed its name to the Atlantic Sun. Georgia State left it to join the CAA in 2005.
New Orleans left in 1980.
The Sun Belt merged with the American South Conference in 1991 and was composed of Arkansas State, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, Texas-Pan American, New Orleans, Lamar, Central Florida, Western Kentucky, South Alabama, Jacksonville, and incoming member Arkansas-Little Rock.
Central Florida left in 1992. Lamar, Texas-Pan American and Jacksonville left in 1998.
Florida International joined in 1998 and Denver in 1999. Louisiana Tech left in 2001.
The league added New Mexico State, North Texas and Middle Tennessee in 2001, along with Louisiana-Monroe and Idaho as football-only member. Utah State was added a football member in 2003.
Utah State, Idaho and New Mexico State left in 2003 for the Western Athletic Conference, whose commissioner was Karl Benson, who is now the Sun Belt’s commissioner.
Troy joined in 2004.
Florida Atlantic joined in 2005.
Louisiana-Monroe and Florida Atlantic joined in 2006.
Western Kentucky joined in 2009.
Sun Belt and Social Media
If you want to learn more about the Sun Belt:
Official website: www.sunbeltsports.org
Distances from Georgia State
Some Georgia State fans have complained about the travel distance from Georgia State to the other members of the Colonial Athletic Association. Here are the distances from GSU to the campuses of the Sun Belt schools (according to mapquest):
Arkansas State/7 hours, 30 minutes
Arkansas-Little Rock/8 hours, 30 minutes
Florida Atlantic/9 hours, 30 minutes
Florida International/10 hours, 15 minutes
Middle Tennessee/3 hours, 30 minutes
North Texas/13 hours
South Alabama/5 hours
Troy/3 hours, 15 minutes
Western Kentucky/5 hours