Georgia State to Join Sun Belt Conference

by Sun Belt Media  on Monday, Apr. 9, 2012 2:27 pm  

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

ATLANTA – The Sun Belt Conference announced today that Georgia State University has accepted an invitation to join the league on July 1, 2013 and will begin conference competition for the 2013-14 academic year.

“On behalf of the presidents and chancellors of the member institutions of the Sun Belt Conference, I am pleased to welcome Georgia State University home to the league that it helped start in 1976,” said Sun Belt Conference President and Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. “The Sun Belt Conference has never been stronger athletically, academically or financially, and today we took action that makes us even stronger."

"Georgia State is very much looking forward to joining the Sun Belt Conference as the university continues to set new goals for excellence, not just in athletics, but in research and everything that we do, over the next 100 years," said Georgia State President Mark Becker.

Georgia State, or GSU, is the second largest university in the state of Georgia with an enrollment of 32,000 and is located in downtown Atlanta. The Panther athletic program was originally a founding member of the Sun Belt Conference in 1976, but left the conference in 1981.

Currently GSU offers 18 varsity sports at the NCAA Division I level and the Panthers began competing in the sport of football in 2010 and are led by head coach Bill Curry. GSU will not be eligible for postseason football or the Sun Belt Conference’s football championship in 2013 as they complete their transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision; however its games would count towards the Sun Belt football standings.

“The addition of Georgia State to the Sun Belt Conference provides further strength for our league and is the beginning of a new era for GSU that will unquestionably be a time of great success for the Panther athletic program,” said Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson. “We strongly believe that the addition of GSU will continue to help the Sun Belt Conference in its rise to prominence.”

GSU Director of Athletics Cheryl L. Levick added, "Under President Becker's leadership, Georgia State University is growing in size and stature as one of the nation's leading urban research institutions, so it is only fitting that our athletic program moves to the top level of college athletics.

"We want to thank Chancellor Hawkins and Commissioner Benson for this opportunity, and we look forward to an exciting new era in Georgia State Athletics," she continued. "The Sun Belt Conference is a tremendous fit for Georgia State, offering top-quality competition, increased exposure, and the chance to build rivalries with schools in driving distance for our fans."

GSU currently meets all standards with the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate (APR) and has a budget of over $22 million. The Atlanta metro area is the eighth largest designated market area (DMA) in the United States.

 

 

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