A little bit of the backstory about the GSU-FBS slip

First, I’m doing a twitter mailbag @ajgsu to answer any questions you might have about Georgia State’s move to the Sun Belt. Please send as many questions as you have and I’ll try to answer them.

During the Sun Belt press conference yesterday, Georgia State athletic director Cheryl Levick and Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson were asked about the timeline of the move.

During their answer, Levick and Benson seemed to disagree on who called who first.

Here’s what happened.

But before I finish this short story, I need to point out a couple of dates:

  • Georgia State signed a contract with Collegiate Consulting on Nov. 1 to analyze Georgia State’s future on the FCS and FBS levels.
  • A draft of the report was given to Georgia State on Feb. 3.
  • Benson was officially announced as the Sun Belt Commissioner as Feb. 15.
  • On Feb. 17  Benson told the “Barnhart and Durham show” show on 790AM that he was aware of Georgia State’s aspirations to move up to the FBS level. He called Levick later that afternoon to apologize because he said he didn’t have his facts straight.

Some of you have doubted that timeline. Well, He was being truthful.

Here’s what happened, with a small twist.

Remember that things got squirrelly in the fall with the ACC taking two more teams from the Big East and rumblings about Conference USA and  Mountain West, which is why GSU commissioned the feasibility study.

Benson and Levick are long-time colleagues from the time he was commissioner of the Western Athletic Conference and she worked for Stanford.

Levick, still waiting on a copy of the feasibility study, called Benson in January, before he said he was even a candidate for the Sun Belt job, to discuss the changing landscape of college football. She had forgotten about that phone call when she and Benson discussed the timeline during the press conference. Benson reminded her backstage.

Now, in between that phone call and the time Benson went on 790AM, he spoke with many consultants, one of whom said that Georgia State had commissioned a study about FBS possibilities.

So, when he went on 790 that’s why he said that Georgia State’s aspirations to be a FBS school were well-known. He thought they were, even though they actually weren’t.

When he called to apologize to Levick, talks began in earnest and continued, culminating in Friday’s offer to join and subsequent acceptance by GSU president Dr. Mark Becker.


How Georgia State compares to the rest of the Sun Belt schools.

A few nuts about bolts about the Sun Belt.

Georgia State is officially in the Sun Belt.

– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu

17 comments Add your comment


April 10th, 2012
8:56 am

1st! How does CRH feel about the move?


April 10th, 2012
9:02 am

Sounds like Benson making that slip actually benefited us in the end. Adding GSU, Atlanta, and the state of Georgia to the Sun Belt’s footprint is a no brainer.

Doug Roberson

April 10th, 2012
9:53 am

Hoping to talk to hunter later this week. He had surgery on Friday so he is recuperating


April 10th, 2012
10:17 am

Thanks Doug!


April 10th, 2012
10:56 am

LOL! is all can say about their version of the timeline. What’s important now is that its done.


April 10th, 2012
11:19 am

You see what had happened was…


April 10th, 2012
1:08 pm

However it happened, it happened. Now it is time to get our team ready and work on making this conference the best it can possibly be.


April 10th, 2012
1:36 pm

wow.. it keeps on changing… Like a pick your route adventure book… But in the end… we got to where we were supposed to go.

GSU, FBS, SBC. Lets go Panthers!


April 10th, 2012
2:31 pm

That makes a little more sense

Atlanta Mafia

April 10th, 2012
4:21 pm

I would have preferred that there was some sort of conspiracy to take over college football!
But, I do believe that they talked several times over several months and that there may not be a definitive moment that theory became reality in the conversation.


April 10th, 2012
5:06 pm

Like Levick’s dig on having Sun Belt Football and Basketball championship in Atlanta. Any follow up on that. It will be so nice not to go back to Virginia.


April 10th, 2012
9:04 pm

The CAA SUCKS, Yeager is an idiot and I cannot wait to be a part of the SBC. The coaches and staff of the SBC are great, I especially like Larry Blakeney. The Troy band is awesome and I look forward to the competition.


April 11th, 2012
8:01 am

I don’t buy it. Or I think there is probably a good deal more to the story than Levick and Benson are letting on but it doesn’t matter now. The Sun Belt is going to be a great home for GSU.


April 11th, 2012
9:00 am

Regardless of how it happened, it happened, and I couldn’t be more pleased…Unless the CUSA calls. : )


April 11th, 2012
6:01 pm

So glad to be home in the Sun Belt! We all know that it was very difficult to get a fair shake in the VAA Basketball League. Atlanta is such a better destination than Richmond and maybe the Sun Belt will consider the available ATL facilities for championship tourneys. It is truly a GREAT TIME for GSU PANTHER Athletics!!! We celebrate our Centennial in 2013 and move our athletics to FBS. It’s going to be a great year for sure.


April 11th, 2012
6:10 pm

Forgot to say! President Mark Becker you are the MAN!!!!!!!!! And AD Cheryl Levick you are our BEST AD ever!!!!!!!!!! GO PANTHERS!!!

Atlanta Mafia

April 11th, 2012
8:14 pm

Here is a link for the South Georgia crowd – this is the GaSo feasibility study done on a possible GaSo move up to the FBS. http://www.georgiasouthern.edu/athleticstudy/pdf/GSUFSreport728.pdf
I’m sure that after you read this you will understand that GaSo isn’t going anywhere anytime soon except to sit in the SoCon and hope that doesn’t collapse. Read it and weep.