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Sun Belt Conference

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Sun Belt Conference

The Sun Belt Conference is a college athletic conference that has been affiliated with the NCAA's Division I since 1976. The Sun Belt is a far-flung conference, with member institutions distributed primarily across the southern latitudes of the United States in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.

After the 1990-91 basketball season all members of the Sun Belt except Western Kentucky, South Alabama, Jacksonville, and incoming member Arkansas-Little Rock departed for other conferences. The Sun Belt merged with the American South Conference made up of Arkansas State, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, Texas-Pan American, New Orleans, Lamar, and Central Florida. Football was not sponsored by the Sun Belt Conference until 2001, when the league added New Mexico State, North Texas and Middle Tennessee State as full members and added Louisiana-Monroe and Idaho as football only members. Utah State became a football-playing member in 2003.

Not only is the Sun Belt the newest of the Division I-A football conferences, it is also arguably the weakest, having won just 15 (14 percent) of 105 non-conference games against Division I-A opponents and 7 (37 percent) of 19 games against Division I-AA opponents during the 2001-2003 regular seasons. It has one bowl tie-in, the New Orleans Bowl, which currently pits the Sun Belt champion against an agreed-upon school from Conference USA.

Current members (and year of membership, where known)

(^ denotes football-playing member)

Florida Atlantic University will join the Sun Belt for football only in 2005. Troy, which joined in football in 2004, will join in all sports in the same year. Florida Atlantic and Louisiana-Monroe will become all-sports members in 2006.

FIU is transitioning its football team from Division I-AA to Division I-A, and expects to play in the Sun Belt when it completes the transition in 2006.

Sports

The Sun Belt Conference sponsors intercollegiate competition in menís baseball, menís and womenís basketball, menís and womenís cross country, menís football, menís and womenís golf, womenís soccer, womenís softball, womenís swimming and diving, menís and womenís tennis, menís and womenís indoor track and field, menís and womenís outdoor track and field, and womenís volleyball.

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