STATESBORO, Ga.: It's official, Georgia Southern is changing conferences.
University athletics officials confirmed Wednesday what many had already speculated: they are moving to the Sun Belt Conference. Longtime rival Appalacian State will also move into the conference.
The inaugural season will be in 2014 but Southern won't become a full member until 2015.
"The Eagles’ football schedule for this fall will not change; however, Georgia Southern won’t be eligible for the FCS playoffs. The Eagles will begin playing Sun Belt games and will be a revenue sharing member of the conference in 2014 and 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. With the exception of men’s soccer, all other Georgia Southern teams will begin Sun Belt play in 2014 and eligible for the conference championship. Since the Sun Belt does not field a men’s soccer program, Georgia Southern is negotiating to find a conference home for the team," at statement on the school's website says.
Sun Belt expansion could include New Mexico, Idaho
New Mexico and Idaho are expected to announce this week that they are joining the Sun Belt Conference in 2014 as football-only members, which would bring league membership to 12 teams and allow for a conference championship game, according to a CBSsports.com report.
Previous reports indicated that Appalachian State and Georgia Southern, both of whom are moving up to FBS classification in football, will enter the Sun Belt Conference in all sports beginning in 2015.
Idaho Athletic Director Rob Spear told the Idaho Statesman that the school is "seeking the State Board of Education's blessing" to accept the Sun Belt's invitation, and the board is "expected to hold a special meeting this week to consider the request."
Idaho's other sports teams are scheduled to join the Big Sky Conference in July '14.