Some of our readers have asked for a realignment update, so here you go…
In early to mid April the realignment rumor mill was churning at full speed. Multiple reports were citing James Madison and Liberty as the two candidates to fill the Sun Belt’s one open spot to get the league to twelve members. Well, here we are a full month later, and what has happened?
To be honest, not much. There has been silence from both Liberty’s and JMU’s camps. Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson hasn’t given many hints when he has talked.
This is all speculation, but from reading between the lines and putting all the public information together, this is what appears to be Liberty’s situation in regards to the Sun Belt:
- James Madison is the Sun Belt’s #1 option right now; however, JMU seems to have very little interest in the Sun Belt. Many think the Dukes are holding out for the Conference USA or MAC.
- So, that should mean Liberty is the favorite for the #12 spot then, right? Well, not exactly. Speculation is that Karl Benson would be in favor of adding us right now, but the majority of the league presidents want anyone but Liberty.
- There is a June 1st deadline for schools to announce their joining of an FBS conference to be eligible to join for the 2014-15 academic year. That deadline is fast approaching. If the Sun Belt wants a 12th football member for 2014-15, it appears Liberty is their only choice.
So, what now?
- We wait.
- We hope the Sun Belt continues to lose football members. Conference USA could expand to 16 schools by adding multiple Sun Belt members including Arkansas State and Louisiana Lafayette. Also, New Mexico State, a football only Sun Belt member, has a new president who has stated he is open to dropping from FBS to FCS and joining the Big Sky or dropping football altogether.
- Keep an eye out for the Sun Belt Conference spring meetings which begin this Sunday. If a 12th member is invited for the 2014-15 season, it will be decided upon then.