Saturday, August 3 2013, 06:29 PM EDT
Two Major Teams Bail on Southern Conference
By The Associated Press:
Georgia Southern and Appalachian State both announced Wednesday they will leave the Southern Conference to join the Sun Belt Conference in 2014.
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Both schools' football teams, which have been dominant at the FCS level, will make the move up to the FBS level.
The Eagles and Mountaineers will begin playing Sun Belt games and will be revenue-sharing members of the conference in 2014. They will be eligible for the Sun Belt conference title, but will not be eligible to play in a bowl game. In 2015, Georgia Southern will become a full member of the conference and be bowl eligible.
The Eagles have won 10 Southern Conference titles and six FCS national championships since 1985. Appalachian State has won 10 conference titles and three national championships.
Both teams will play SoCon schedules this coming football season, but neither will be eligible for the FCS playoffs.
Southern Conference Commissioner John Iamarino released the following statement regarding Southern Conference membership:
"Today's announcements by the Sun Belt Conference are no surprise to us. To their credit, the principal administrators at Appalachian State and Georgia Southern and the Sun Belt commissioner have continually kept our office apprised of developments throughout the process.
"While we're disappointed to be losing Appalachian State and Georgia Southern, the Southern Conference cannot provide the platform their football programs are seeking. We'll wish them well when they depart.
"Our membership discussions with our presidents, chancellors and athletic directors will continue as they have for the past 18 months and figure to be more focused on specific options with this most recent development. There are quality institutions interested in speaking with us regarding conference membership, and our options remain solid."