Conference realignment has been one of the more confusing topics in collegiate athletics in recent years, as the staggered dates in regards to school movement has led to fans not always knowing which school belongs to which league.
Two schools slated to make a move in the near future, Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee, are reportedly negotiating with the Sun Belt Conference to leave after the current academic year instead of waiting until 2014 according to Dan Wolken of USA Today.
Those two programs will join the reconfigured Conference USA, which will lose four of its members to the Big East Conference at the end of the 2012-13 academic year.
According to Sun Belt bylaws departing schools would have to pay $1 million in order to leave early, but neither school would owe the conference anything financially if they were to wait until 2014.
Joining Conference USA in 2013 are Florida International, Louisiana Tech, North Texas and UT-San Antonio, which would keep the conference at 12 all sports members (Charlotte and Old Dominion are joining as well, but won’t be football members until 2015).
At a certain point one has to ask if there should be some sort across Division I athletics where all pending moves are completed at the same time. It would be difficult to follow that up with some kind of moratorium on changing leagues (because people would get sued), but wouldn’t getting all of this movement completed allow all parties to move forward?
Frankly it’s just time to get all of this done. But with the ever-changing landscape thanks in large part to television and other revenue streams, realignment is a part of college athletics that we’ll have to accept as coming with the territory.
Photo credit: Sun Belt Conference
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.
The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:
Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.
UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.
Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.
All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.
The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.