Georgia State’s decision to move to the Sun Belt conference was a football decision. The Panthers wanted their fledgling gridiron program — helmed by former Georgia Tech head man Bill Curry — to compete in the BCS rather than the CAA’s FCS division of DI.
In basketball terms, it was at best a lateral move, and realistically more of a step backward. Second-year Panther head coach Ron Hunter knows it, and he knows everyone else knows it. He knows it’s being used against him on the recruiting trail, as well. He is, in the immortal words of Howard Beale — mad as hell. And he’s not going to take this any more.
Here are some of Hunter’s choice words, courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Q: Are any of the recruits or signees asking you about the Sun Belt move?
A: All of them. I had an AAU coach call my son and ask if he wants to play in the Sun Belt. He’s the only player I didn’t talk with about the move. He’s fine with it. Every one of our recruits, we signed these guys based upon us being in the CAA. Would these guys have signed with us if they knew we were in the Sun Belt? I don’t know.
Q: It sounds like a negative difference.
A: I wouldn’t say a negative difference, but a difference.
Q: Any more negative recruiting?
A: Three coaches…I’m sick and tired of college coaches negatively recruiting against me. I’ve called them and said if you negatively recruit against me, I serve on enough committees, I’m going to cause you problems. Take shots at my program, I’m going to take shots back. I don’t negatively recruit.
Q: What kind of problems?
I can do negative recruiting. I can call the NCAA and say you may want to look into so and so.
When I recruit against other schools I don’t say GSU is better than so-and-so. I say this is why you want to be at Georgia State
I called that AAU coach.
We had a talk. Well, I don’t know if it was a talk.
Hunter’s a good, tough coach who will succeed wherever he ends up. It wouldn’t be too surprising if he felt some of the same feelings his potential players do. He left the Summit League for the CAA, not the Sun Belt.