Sun Belt chief envisions stability despite Big 12 expansion

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson says he can’t rule out Big 12 expansion plans affecting his own conference.

Still, Benson calls the Sun Belt’s planned membership “perfect” in terms of geography and positioning members for growth.

Speaking at the conference’s football media day Monday, Benson says a Sun Belt chancellor would be “foolish” not to take calls from the Big 12 or another BCS conference. However, he says the Sun Belt’s increased competitiveness, revenues and travel advantages make leaving for another other mid-major conference less attractive.

Football-only members Idaho and New Mexico State are leaving the Sun Belt after 2017. Coastal Carolina becomes a full football member in 2018, when the Sun Belt will have 10 teams in seven Southern states and stage a league championship game.

(Georgia Southern is a member of the Sun Belt Conference)

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