There are reports that the University of Massachusetts may join the Sun Belt Conference as a football-only member.
The Minutemen, who are currently a football-only member in the Mid-American Conference, has until after 2015 season to find a new conference home. Since 2012, the Minutemen have participated in football only in the Mid-American Conference, a deal set to terminate following the 2015 season after UMass declined an ultimatum to join the league as a full-time member.
Monday, it was reported by CBS Sports that UMass has had discussions with the Sun Belt Conference about becoming the league's 12th member and that commissioner Karl Benson has indicated that "interest exists" between the two sides to get a deal done.
The original report was later amended to describe the talks as "very preliminary." According to the report, the Sun Belt has been looking to fill it's final spot by June 1 and has been in contact with a number of Football Bowl Championship-level about potential membership, as well. The Sun Belt is expected discuss the situation at its upcoming spring meetings later in May.
Benson declined further comment on the issue. Calls to UMass athletic director John McCutcheon were not immediately returned.
The Sun Belt has undergone much realignment in recent years, with Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, Idaho and New Mexico State having been added for 2014 to replace outgoing programs. The addition of a 12th league member would allow the Sun Belt to hold a revenue-boosting football championship game at the conclusion of its regular season.