Ahead of the Game
Joining Sun Belt Conference expected to boost University’s national exposure
Come fall 2013, Maverick athletes will display their talents as members of the Sun Belt Conference.
“Our move to the Sun Belt will allow us to continue to showcase our athletics program on a national level and create further awareness for the University.”
UT Arlington has accepted an invitation to join the Sun Belt, a move expected to elevate the University’s athletics programs and increase its national profile. Conference play will begin in the 2013–14 academic year.
President James D. Spaniolo says the move will advance the University’s goals of becoming a top-tier institution. “Along with the opening of College Park Center just a few months ago, this move to the Sun Belt is another sign of the growth not only of our athletics program but of our entire University.”
UT Arlington becomes the 12th member of the Sun Belt for 2013–14, joining current members Arkansas State, Arkansas-Little Rock, Florida Atlantic, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Middle Tennessee, South Alabama, Troy, and Western Kentucky. Georgia State and Texas State also will join the conference in 2013.
Formed in 1976, the Sun Belt is a member of the 11-league alliance of the Bowl Championship Series. It was the first conference to sign a long-term contract with ESPN and boasts the longest partnership between the network and any collegiate athletic conference.
“Our move to the Sun Belt will allow us to continue to showcase our athletics program on a national level and create further awareness for the University,” Athletics Director Jim Baker says.
Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson says the recent athletic success enjoyed by UT Arlington and the opening of the 7,000-seat College Park Center made the University an appealing choice.
“The addition of UT Arlington is tremendous for the Sun Belt Conference, as the league will now move forward with 12 member institutions with two six-team divisions,” Benson says. “UTA will help continue the rise of the Sun Belt Conference as a national contender in intercollegiate athletics.”
UT Arlington, which competes in 14 NCAA Division I sports, will play in the Western Athletic Conference for the 2012–13 academic year. The University recently finished its final season in the Southland Conference, where it was a charter member since 1963.