New Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson’s first expansion effort has been a success, as
"This is a strong declaration that the Sun Belt is committed to getting better," Benson said. "The addition of Georgia State shows the Sun Belt is prepared to move forward and be a stronger player in the future."
Georgia State becomes the 11th football playing member of the Sun Belt, and the conference's first team in Georgia.
"This just rounds out the footprint of the Sun Belt," Benson said.
The current football members are
Benson took over the commissioner job last month after leaving the same position at the
"This is more than likely the first of other additions we hope to make in the next 90 to 120 days," Benson said.
There was concern that the conference coming out of the planned merger of the Mountain West and Conference-USA would poach some teams from the Sun Belt, but that merger has stalled, and Benson has the Sun Belt in acquisition mode.
Other targets for Benson and the Sun Belt are
Georgia State, which will join the Sun Belt in July 2013, began playing football in 2010 as a member of the Colonial Conference at the Football Championship Subdivision.
The Panthers begin their two-year transition to the Bowl Subdivision this season and will play a full Sun Belt schedule in 2013.
Benson said they will not be eligible for a bowl game until 2014, but that he would urge the Sun Belt athletic directors to allow the Panthers to eligible for the Sun Belt championship in 2013.