A new generation of Georgia State University athletics was officially sworn in on Monday, as the Panthers joined the Sun Belt Conference in a press conference held at the Georgia Dome. Georgia State move from the Colonial Athletic Association to become the 11th football-playing member of the league, which competes at the Football Bowl Subdivision level.
"This has turly been a banner day for Georgia State athletics and Georgia State University," said Georgia State athletic director Cheryl L. Levick.
Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson, who was in attendance for the announcement, said the league is looking to expand to 12 football-playing programs by the time expansion is done, as already existing member of the Sun Belt, the University of South Alabama, is also making the jump from a FCS to FBS. Both Georgia State and South Alabama will join the Sun Belt in a transitional period in 2013, and will become eligible in 2014.
"It's still important to us to maintain geographic connections," said Benson about making sure expansion remains regional.
Both Benson and Levick talked about the process of Georgia State joining the Sun Belt, and both admitted that talks began back in January, when Benson was yet named Sun Belt commissioner.
Currently, the only issue surrounding Georgia State's move to the Sun Belt dealing with the Panthers' soccer programs which will not have any conference opponents because the Sun Belt does not have a soccer league.
Levick addressed the issues, saying there are plans A, B and C in place that will help them work through the issue and it will be resolved once the athletic department speaks with the soccer coaching staffs.
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