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