Sun Belt Conference

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.

Sun Belt Conference
Established1976
AssociationNCAA
DivisionDivision I
SubdivisionFBS
Members12
Sports fielded
  • 18
    • men's: 9
    • women's: 9
RegionSouthern United States
HeadquartersNew Orleans, Louisiana
CommissionerKeith Gill (since 2019)
Websitewww.sunbeltsports.org
Locations

History

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.

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.

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).

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.

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]

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

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 1899 2014 19,108 Mountaineers          
Arkansas State University Jonesboro, Arkansas 1909 1991 13,709 Red Wolves          
Coastal Carolina University Conway, South Carolina 1954 2016 10,641 Chanticleers               
Georgia Southern University Statesboro, Georgia 1906 2014 26,500 Eagles          
Georgia State University Atlanta, Georgia 1913 1976;
2013
52,000 Panthers          
University of Arkansas at Little Rock Little Rock, Arkansas 1927 1991 11,681 Trojans               
University of Louisiana Lafayette, Louisiana 1898 1991 19,188 Ragin' Cajuns          
University of Louisiana at Monroe Monroe, Louisiana 1931 2006 9,060 Warhawks          
University of South Alabama Mobile, Alabama 1963 1976 14,834 Jaguars               
Texas State University San Marcos, Texas 1899 2013 38,644 Bobcats          
University of Texas at Arlington Arlington, Texas 1895 2013 43,939 Mavericks               
Troy University Troy, Alabama 1887 2005 20,000 Trojans               
  • Louisiana–Monroe — football was an affiliate member from 2001 to 2006
  • Troy — football was an affiliate member in 2004–05.

Associate members

Institution Location Founded Joined Enrollment Nickname Colors Sport Primary
Conference
University of Central Arkansas Conway, Arkansas 1907 2019 11,750 Bears[lower-alpha 1]           soccer (M) Southland
Howard University Washington, D.C. 1867 2014 9,139 Bison           soccer (M) MEAC
  1. Central Arkansas uses "Bears" for only men's teams, with women's teams known as "Sugar Bears". Men's soccer is the school's only Sun Belt sport.

Former members

Institution Location Founded Nickname Joined Left Current
Conference
University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, Alabama 1969 Blazers 1979 1991 C-USA
University of Central Florida Orlando, Florida 1963 Knights 1991 1992 The American
University of Denver Denver, Colorado 1864 Pioneers 1999 2012 The Summit
Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, Florida 1961 Owls 2005 2013 C-USA
Florida International University Miami, Florida 1965 Panthers 1998 2013 C-USA
Jacksonville University Jacksonville, Florida 1934 Dolphins 1976 1998 Atlantic Sun
Lamar University Beaumont, Texas 1923 Cardinals 1991 1998 Southland
Louisiana Tech University Ruston, Louisiana 1894 Bulldogs & Lady Techsters 1991 2001 C-USA
Middle Tennessee State University Murfreesboro, Tennessee 1911 Blue Raiders 2000 2013 C-USA
New Mexico State University Las Cruces, New Mexico 1888 Aggies 2000 2005 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 1976 1991 C-USA
University of North Texas Denton, Texas 1890 Mean Green 2000 2013 C-USA
Old Dominion University Norfolk, Virginia 1930 Monarchs 1982 1991 C-USA
University of South Florida Tampa, Florida 1956 Bulls 1976 1991 The American
University of Texas–Pan American Edinburg, Texas 1927 Broncs 1991 1998 WAC
Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, Virginia 1838 Rams 1979 1991 Atlantic 10
Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, Kentucky 1906 Hilltoppers & Lady Toppers 1982 2014 C-USA
  • Florida Atlantic — football was an affiliate member in 2005–06.
  • Texas–Pan American — Merged into UTRGV in 2015; the merged school inherited UTPA's athletic program, with the new nickname of Vaqueros, and membership in the Western Athletic Conference.
  • New Mexico State — was a full member from 2000 to 2005.

Former affiliate members

Institution Location Founded Nickname Joined Left Sport Conference
in Former
Sun Belt Sport[lower-alpha 1]
Hartwick College Oneonta, New York 1797 Hawks 2014 2018 soccer (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 2014 2016 soccer (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 2003 2005 football 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

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

Commissioners

  • Vic Bubas (1976–1990)
  • Jim Lessig (1990–1991)
  • Craig Thompson (1991–1998)
  • Wright Waters (1999–2012)
  • Karl Benson (2012–2019)
  • Keith Gill (2019–present)

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
Y
Basketball
Y
Y
Cross Country
Y
Y
Football
Y
Golf
Y
Y
Soccer
Y
Y
Softball
Y
Tennis
Y
Y
Track & Field Indoor
Y
Y
Track & Field Outdoor
Y
Y
Volleyball
Y

Men's sponsored sports by school

Member-by-member sponsorship of the nine men's SBC sports for the 2019–20 academic year.

SchoolBaseballBasketballCross
Country
FootballGolfSoccerTennisTrack
& Field
Indoor
Track
& Field
Outdoor
Total
Sun Belt
Sports
Appalachian StateYYYYYYYYY 9
Arkansas StateYYYYYNNYY 7
Coastal CarolinaYYYYYYYNY 8
Georgia SouthernYYNYYYYNN 6
Georgia StateYYNYYYYNN 6
Little RockYYYNYNNYY 6
LouisianaYYYYYNYYY 8
Louisiana–MonroeYYYYYNNYY 7
South AlabamaYYYYYNYYY 8
Texas StateYYYYYNNYY 7
UT ArlingtonYYYNYNYYY 7
TroyYYYYYNYNY 7
Totals12121010124881086
Affiliate Members
Central ArkansasY 1
HowardY 1

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

SchoolWrestling
Appalachian StateSoCon
Little RockPac-12

    Women's sponsored sports by school

    Member-by-member sponsorship of the nine women's SBC sports for the 2019–20 academic year.

    SchoolBasketballCross
    Country
    GolfSoccerSoftballTennisTrack
    & Field
    Indoor
    Track
    & Field
    Outdoor
    VolleyballTotal
    Sun Belt
    Sports
    Appalachian StateYYYYYYYYY 9
    Arkansas StateYYYYNYYYY 8
    Coastal CarolinaYYYYYYYYY 9
    Georgia SouthernYYYYYYYYY 9
    Georgia StateYYYYYYYYY 9
    Little RockYYYYNNYYY 7
    LouisianaYYNYYYYYY 8
    Louisiana–MonroeYYYYYYYYY 9
    South AlabamaYYYYYYYYY 9
    Texas StateYYYYYYYYY 9
    UT ArlingtonYYYNYYYYY 8
    TroyYYYYYYYYY 9
    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 StateMAC
    Arkansas StateSBL
    Coastal CarolinaASUNASUN
    Georgia SouthernSoConCCSA
    Georgia StateCCSA
    Little RockMVC
    Louisiana–MonroeIND

    Championships

    "RS" is regular season, "T" is tournament.

    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:

      School NCAA
      titles
      Sport Years
      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 current season, see 2019 Sun Belt Conference football season.

      West DivisionEast Division
      Arkansas StateAppalachian State
      LouisianaCoastal Carolina
      Louisiana-MonroeGeorgia Southern
      South AlabamaGeorgia State
      Texas StateTroy

      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. As of November 2019, the conference has six bowl game tie-ins.

      Throughout the years, the conference has experienced 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)[20] 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.[21]

      [22]

      Team First
      Season
      All-Time
      Record
      All-Time
      Win %
      Bowl
      Appearances
      Bowl
      Record
      All-Time
      Conference
      Titles
      Current
      Head Coach
      Appalachian State 1928 628–338–28 .646 4 4–0 21 Eliah Drinkwitz
      Arkansas State 1911 480–492–37 .494 8 3–5 14 Blake Anderson
      Coastal Carolina 2003 127–77 .623 0 0–0 8 Jamey Chadwell
      Georgia Southern 1924 333–147–1 .693 2 2–0 11 Chad Lunsford
      Georgia State 2010 36–81 .308 2 1–1 0 Shawn Elliott
      Louisiana 1901 527–561–34 .485 8 5–3 13 Billy Napier
      Louisiana–Monroe 1951 315–426–8 .426 1 0–1 5 Matt Viator
      South Alabama 2009 57–69 .452 2 0–2 0 Steve Campbell
      Texas State 1904 511–458–26 .527 0 0–0 12 Jake Spavital
      Troy 1909 544–411–28 .568 8 5–3 21 Chip Lindsey

      Sun Belt champions

      Starting in the 2018 NCAA Division I FBS Season, the Sun Belt Conference will host a football championship game.[23]

      Season Champion Conference
      Record
      2001 Middle Tennessee State
      North Texas
      5–1
      2002 North Texas
      6–0
      2003 North Texas
      7–0
      2004 North Texas
      7–0
      2005 Arkansas 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

      As of the 2019–20 NCAA football bowl games, the Sun Belt Conference has tie-ins with the following bowl games:

      Name Location Opposing
      conference
      Arizona Bowl Tucson, Arizona MWC
      Camellia Bowl Montgomery, Alabama MAC
      Cure Bowl Orlando, Florida The American
      Frisco Bowl Frisco, Texas The American
      LendingTree Bowl Mobile, Alabama MAC
      New Orleans Bowl New Orleans, Louisiana C–USA

      Football rivalries

      Conference play
      TeamsRivalry
      Name
      TrophyMeetings
      (last)
      RecordSeries
      Leader
      Appalachian StateGeorgia SouthernDeeper Than Hate35
      (2019)
      19–15–1Appalachian State
      LouisianaLouisiana–MonroeBattle on the BayouWooden Boot54
      (2019)
      28–25Louisiana
      Georgia StateGeorgia SouthernModern Day Hate6
      (2019)
      3–3Series Tied
      South AlabamaTroyBattle for the BeltBelt8
      (2019)
      5–3Troy
      Non-conference play
      TeamsRivalry
      Name
      TrophyMeetings
      (last)
      RecordSeries
      Leader
      Arkansas StateMemphisPaint Bucket Bowl59
      (2013)
      30–24–5Memphis
      LouisianaLamarSabine Shoe34
      (2012)
      22–12Louisiana
      LouisianaMcNeese StateCajun Crown37
      (2007)
      20–15–2McNeese State
      LouisianaSoutheastern LouisianaCypress Mug38
      (1981)
      18–17–3Louisiana
      Texas StateNicholls StateBattle for the PaddlePaddle31
      (2019)
      16–15Nicholls State
      TroyMiddle TennesseeBattle for the PalladiumPalladium20
      (2012)
      12–8Middle Tennessee
      TroyUAB12
      (2014)
      7–5Troy
      Appalachian State Western Carolina Battle for the Old Mountain Jug Old Mountain Jug 78

      (2013)

      59–18–1 Appalachian State

      Basketball

      Since the 2018–19 season, the Sun Belt Conference Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments, held in early March, have involved only 10 of the conference's 12 teams, and have been bracketed in a semi-stepladder format. The bottom four seeds play in the first round; the 5 and 6 seeds receive byes to the second round, the 3 and 4 seeds to the quarterfinals, and the top two seeds to the semifinals. The semifinals and finals are held in New Orleans; the 2019 men's and women's events were at Lakefront Arena, and from 2020 will be at Smoothie King Center.[25] Winners of the tournaments earn automatic bids to their respective NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament.

      Season Men'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 Season No Tournament
      1978 North Carolina–Charlotte New Orleans No Regular Season No Tournament
      1979 South Alabama Jacksonville No Regular Season No Tournament
      1980 South Alabama Virginia Commonwealth No Regular Season No Tournament
      1981 Virginia Commonwealth Virginia Commonwealth No Regular Season No Tournament
      1982 Alabama–Birmingham Alabama–Birmingham No Regular Season No 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
      2004 Vacated Vacated 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
      2019 Georgia State Georgia State Little Rock
      UT Arlington
      Little Rock

      Baseball

      Facilities

      School Football
      Stadium
      Capacity Basketball
      Arena
      Capacity Baseball
      Stadium
      Capacity
      Appalachian State Kidd Brewer Stadium 30,000 Holmes Center 8,325 Jim and Bettie Smith Stadium 1,000[26]
      Arkansas State Centennial Bank Stadium 33,410 First National Bank Arena 10,563 Tomlinson Stadium–Kell Field 1,200[27]
      Coastal Carolina Brooks Stadium 20,000 HTC Center 3,370 Springs Brooks Stadium - Vrooman Field 5,400[28]
      Georgia Southern Paulson Stadium 25,000 Hanner Fieldhouse 4,325[29] J. I. Clements Stadium 3,000
      Georgia State Georgia State Stadium 24,333 GSU Sports Arena 3,854[30] GSU Baseball Complex 1,092
      Little Rock
      Non-football school
      Jack Stephens Center[lower-alpha 1] 5,600[31] 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[32] Riddle–Pace Field 2,000
      Notes
      1. Little Rock normally plays home basketball games on campus but occasionally plays at Simmons Bank Arena 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.[33]

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

      University Affiliation Carnegie[33] Endowment[34] US News[35] Forbes[36]
      Appalachian State University Public (UNC) Master's (Larger) $99,593,000[37] 9 (Regional: South) 315
      Arkansas State University Public (ASU System) R2 Doctoral/Research (Higher) $66,217,000[37] 68 (Regional: South) N/A[d 1]
      Coastal Carolina University Public Master's (Larger) $39,432,000[37] 52 (Regional: South) N/A[d 2]
      Georgia Southern University Public (USG System) R2 Doctoral/Research (Higher) $50,999,000[37] RNP (National) 560
      Georgia State University Public (USG System) R1 Doctoral/Research (Highest) $155,303,000[37] 187 (National) 530
      University of Arkansas at Little Rock Public (UA System) R3 Doctoral/Research (Moderate) $70,080,000[37] RNP (National) 608
      University of Louisiana at Lafayette Public (UL System) R2 Doctoral/Research (Higher) $178,300,000[38] RNP (National) 529
      University of Louisiana at Monroe Public (UL System) R3 Doctoral/Research (Moderate) $23,158,000[39] RNP (National) N/A[d 3]
      University of South Alabama Public R2 Doctoral/Research (Higher) $555,735,000[37] RNP (National) 616
      Texas State University Public (TSU System) R2 Doctoral/Research (Higher) $186,676,000[37] RNP (National) 506
      University of Texas at Arlington Public (UT System) R1 Doctoral/Research (Highest) $155,277,000[40] 221 (National) 558
      Troy University Public (TU System) Master's (Larger) $104,409,000[37] 69 (Regional: South) 640

      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.

      References

      1. "WKU Regents Approve Move To Division 1-A Football" (Press release). Western Kentucky University. November 2, 2006. Archived from the original on January 15, 2008. Retrieved November 3, 2006.
      2. "University of New Orleans gets approval from NCAA to move to Division II". The Times-Picayune. April 20, 2011. Retrieved September 6, 2011.
      3. McMurphy, Brett (April 7, 2012). "Sun Belt adding Georgia State". College Football Insider. CBS Sports. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
      4. "Texas State will leave WAC, join Sun Belt in 2013–14". Sports Illustrated. May 2, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
      5. "University of Texas-Arlington Mavericks to join Sun Belt Conference in 2013". ESPN. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
      6. "Conference USA Adds Five New Members". Conferenceusa.com. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
      7. McMurphy, Brett (November 29, 2012). "C-USA adds FAU, Middle Tennessee State". ESPN. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
      8. Archived April 6, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
      9. Archived December 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
      10. Archived December 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
      11. Archived July 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
      12. "Board approves Idaho football going independent". College Football.
      13. "Idaho football returning to Sun Belt in 2014 – Spokesman.com – March 27, 2013". Spokesman.com.
      14. "Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell news by Idaho Statesman". Idaho Statesman.
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