The opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the author.
According to the most impeccable of App sources, Tommy Bowman, the school will accept an invitation to join the Sun Belt Conference starting in the 2014 athletic season along with Georgia Southern. The officially announcement should come Wednesday as Georgia Southern has theirs scheduled that day as well for 9 am.
Right now, the idea is that App and GSU will be ineligible for the 2013 post-season due to the move up. The schools might also be ineligible for the SoCon football titles, but no such ruling has been passed yet. The CAA had a rule that departing members can’t win conference titles or compete in conference tournaments, but the SoCon has no rule as evident by College of Charleston. Right now the idea is that App and GSU will be in transition for the next two seasons (2013, 2014) and be fully eligible for bowls and conference championships in 2015.
The Sun Belt sponsors 17 of the 20 sports App State has. The lone exceptions are Field Hockey, Men’s Soccer and Wrestling. Field Hockey is already in the NorPac Conference and wouldn’t need to change. Both Men’s Soccer and Wrestling could stay in the SoCon, where there are only eight schools competing in those sports, but nothing is for certain. If the SoCon decides not to keep either as associate members, there are other conferences out there who could take them as such.
With the move coming on July 1st, 2014, it’ll be in less than two calendar years and thus both App and GSU will be paying the $600,000 exit fee from the SoCon.
The Sun Belt for 2014 as of now will consist of Troy, South Alabama, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Texas State, Texas-San Antonio, Arkansas State, Georgia State and non-football members Arkansas-Little Rock and Texas-Arlington. Western Kentucky is expected to be leaving for Conference USA that year.
As of now there are no other new members being invited, but it could change quickly as this is a very fluid situation. New Mexico State is rumored to be another 2014 addition, but nothing official has come out.
More on this will be covered as news breaks. The Perils of Everyweek Existence will now be hastily re-written and posted on Tuesday.