Appalachian State's premier FCS program could be ready to move up to the FBS level. David Glenn, host of, "The David Glenn Show", that airs daily on AM 1450, WATA Radio from 1-3 p.m., announced on his show Monday that a source at Appalachian State said the Southern Conference program
will accept an invitation to join the Sun Belt Conference this week, possibility announcing a move on Wednesday.
The Mountaineers program is the only one in FCS history to win three straight national titles - from 2005 to '07 under former coach Jerry Moore - and has won at least a share of seven of the last eight Southern Conference titles.
Appalachian State has led the FCS in attendance in five of the past six years, including an average of 26,358 fans per game this past season, when the Mountaineers had an 8-4 record and made the national playoffs for the eighth straight season.
The SoCon's other's big power, six-time FCS national champion Georgia Southern, also is pursuing a move up to the FBS. The Sports Network and the Winston-Salem Journal, have released a similar report concerning this possible move. Troy University Athletic Director John Hartwell made a statement in December of last year that ASU and Georgia Southern would be huge additions to the Sun Belt Conference. The source familiar with the situation, who remains anonymous, said an official announcement concerning the move hasn't been made by the either the school nor the Sun Belt Conference. An exact date when ASU will join the league are being worked out, but, according to the source, ASU could begin competition in the Sun Belt in 2014 in all 18 sports the conference offers.
The move will take the Mountaineers to the Football Bowl Subdivision. They have competed in the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly known as I-AA) since 1981. The Mountaineers have been members of the Southern Conference since 1971.
The Sun Belt has automatic ties to the New Orleans Bowl and the GoDaddy.Com Bowl. The move, once its completed, will end a search that began in 2011, when ASU announced it was pursuing a move to the FBS level. Southern Conference member (and one of ASU's biggest rivals), Georgia Southern, is also being strongly looked at by the SBC.
The Sun Belt is greatly in need of new members after Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Middle Tennessee and North Texas announced that they would move to Conference USA. That move leaves the SBC with Arkansas State, Louisana-Lafayette, Louisana-Monroe, Western Kentucky, Troy, South Alabama, Texas State and Georgia State.
Texas State and Georgia State join the SBC this fall. The FBS schools can offer as many as 22 more scholarships than FCS schools. FCS schools have 63 football scholarships compared to 85 for FBS schools. In turn, the Southern Conference, which is losing College of Charleston to the Colonial Athletic Association next fall, has an exit fee of $600,000 for programs leaving in less than two years after giving notice. If ASU leaves, it will join CofC as the second school to leave the 11-team league (the SoCon has nine football-playing schools).