Georgia State Announces It Will Join The Sun Belt Conference

ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 02: Kicker Max Garcia #43 of the Georgia State Panthers watches as kicker Iain Vance #97 warms up before facing the Shorter Hawks at Georgia Dome on September 2 2010 in Atlanta Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Partly based on a desire to play FBS football, Georgia State has announced that it is leaving the Colonial Athletic Association to join the Sun Belt Conference.

Georgia State officials announced on Monday that they are leaving the Colonial Athletic Association to join the Sun Belt Conference. The Panthers will join the conference as a provisional member in 2013-14, and will become a full-fledged member in the fall of 2014.

GSU was a charter member of the Sun Belt when the conference was formed in 1976, but left for the Trans America Athletic Conference (now known as the Atlantic Sun) in 1981. GSU joined the CAA in 2005.

The driving reason behind Georgia State leaving the CAA, one of the nation's top mid-major basketball conferences, is reportedly a desire to play football on the FBS level. GSU officials have also expressed concern with the missed class time and travel expenses for non-revenue sports that has come with competing in a league as geographically diverse as the CAA.

Georgia State must now pay an exit fee of at least $250,000 to leave the CAA, and will likely have to forfeit any revenue-sharing agreements with the league. It may also may lose the chance to compete in any of the conference's tournaments during the 2012-13 season. GSU will also have to pay a $300,000 entry fee to join the Sun Belt.

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