The Sun Belt Conference
By Rachel Jones - June 18, 2023

The South of the United States has an NCAA league called the Sun Belt Conference. The Sun Belt started as a non-football league but started supporting football in 2001. There are presently 12 teams in the Sun Belt. Each institution in the Sun Belt fields a baseball, basketball, and football team, excluding departed players. On August 4th, 1976, the Sun Belt Conference was established. The group’s initial six members were the University of New Orleans, University of South Alabama, Georgia State University, Jacksonville University, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and the University of South Florida.

Six of the Sun Belt Group’s nine members left for other conferences in 1991, causing the conference to undergo significant adjustments with the addition of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, scheduled to join in 1991, Western Kentucky, South Alabama, and Jacksonville were still members. After that, the Sun Belt and the American South Conference, including Arkansas State University, Louisiana Tech University, the University of Southwestern Louisiana, the University of Texas-Pan American, New Orleans, Lamar University, and the University of Central Florida, were formed. The American South Conference made up most of the conference, but the league insisted on calling itself the “Sun Belt.”

Getty Images/ Denver Post/ Andy Cross

Ten clubs, divided into two groups, make up the Sun Belt Conference at the moment. The names of the two groups are “Group A” and “Group B.” The regions of the groups are also occasionally used to refer to them: Group A is the “East” region, while Group B is the “West” region. Currently, there are no associate members of the Sun Belt Conference. James Madison University, nevertheless, is one of their prospective associate members (JMU). Except for football and soccer, JMU will participate in all SBC-sponsored sports. Numerous colleges who are joining the conference are incoming members of it. Potential members at the moment include Southern Miss, Marshall, Old Dominion, and James Madison University (future affiliate member).