Sun Belt Conference

Sun Belt Conference

The Sun Belt Conference is an NCAA conference in the Southern United States. While the conference began as a non-football conference, the Sun Belt began sponsoring football in 2001. The Sun Belt currently features 12 teams. Excluding departing members, each school in the Sun Belt has a team for baseball, basketball, and football.


History of The Sun Belt Conference

The Sun Belt Conference was founded on August 4th, 1976. The six original members were the University of New Orleans, the University of South Alabama, Georgia State University, Jacksonville University, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and the University of South Florida.

In the first ten years of existence, the Sun Belt Conference added four more schools: Western Kentucky University, Old Dominion University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Virginia Commonwealth University.

The University of New Orleans was the first to leave the conference. They were forced out of the league in 1980 because they had inadequate training facilities.

In 1991 the Sun Belt Conference saw massive changes: six of their nine members departed for other conferences. Western Kentucky, South Alabama, and Jacksonville remained, plus the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, which was set to join in 1991. The Sun Belt then merged with the American South Conference, which featured Arkansas State University, Louisiana Tech University, the University of Southwestern Louisiana, the University of Texas-Pan American, New Orleans, Lamar University, and the University of Central Florida. Even though the majority of the conference came from the American South Conference, the league stuck with the “Sun Belt” title.

What schools are in the Sun Belt Conference?

The Sun Belt Conference currently has ten teams split into two groups. The two groups are named “Group A” and “Group B.” The groups are also sometimes referred to by their regions: Group A is the “East” region, and Group B is the “West” region.

The Group A teams include Appalachian State, Georgia State, Coastal Carolina, Troy, and Georgia Southern. The Group B teams are Louisiana, Texas State, Louisiana-Monroe, Southern Alabama, and Arkansas State.

The Sun Belt Conference does not currently have any affiliate members. However, they do have one future affiliate member, James Madison University (JMU). JMU will compete in all the SBC’s sponsored sports except for football and soccer.

The conference has several incoming members, which are schools set to join the conference. James Madison University (future affiliate member), Marshall, Old Dominion, and Southern Miss are all currently future members.

Currently, the most dominant football schools in the Sun Belt Conference include Louisiana, Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, and Georgia State. The Sun Belt East is presently the stronger of the two divisions, with three of the top four football schools in the Sun Belt (Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, and Georgia State).

List of Sun Belt Conference Teams By Division

Group A

  • Appalachian State (Mountaineers)
  • Georgia State (Panthers)
  • Coastal Carolina (Chanticleers)
  • Troy (Trojans)
  • Georgia Southern (Eagles)

Group B

  • Louisiana (Ragin’ Cajuns)
  • Texas State (Bobcats)
  • UL-Monroe (Warhawks)
  • South Alabama (Jaguars)
  • Arkansas State (Red Wolves)

FAQ

What is the Sun Belt Conference?

The Sun Belt Conference (SBC) is an NCAA Division I sports conference. The SBC includes 12 members from seven different southern states in the USA: Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The Sun Belt Conference’s football teams compete in the Division I Football Sub-division, which is sometimes called Division I-A. This is the highest level of college football and consists of 130 schools across ten different conferences.

How many teams are in the Sun Belt Conference?

Currently, there are 12 teams in the Sun Belt Conference. These 12 teams are the full members of the conference. Of the 12 teams currently in the SBC, two are set to depart the conference in the next few years. These two teams are the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the University of Texas at Arlington. James Madison University is a future member of the Sun Belt Conference. However, JMU will join as an affiliate member.

What sports do Sun Belt Conference teams participate in?

Ten of the 12 current members of the Sun Belt Conference participate in football. The only two who do not are currently set to depart the conference: Little Rock and UT Arlington. All 12 teams compete in baseball, basketball, and golf. These are the only sports that feature all 12 Sun Belt schools. The sports with the next highest participation are cross country, football, and outdoor track & field.