App State and Georgia Southern both announced today that they are leaving the SoCon to join the Sun Belt Conference.
The Eagles and Mountaineers will begin playing Sun Belt games and will be a revenue-sharing member of the conference in 2014. They will be eligible for the Sun Belt conference title, but will not be eligible to play in a bowl game. In 2015, Georgia Southern and App State will become a full member of the conference and be bowl eligible.
The Eagles have won 10 Southern Conference titles and six FCS national championships since 1985, while App State has won 10 SoCon Titles and three FCS national titles.
Neither team will be eligible for the FCS playoffs this season.
SoCon commissioner John Iamarino released the following statement: “Today’s announcements by the Sun Belt Conference are no surprise to us. To their credit, the principal administrators at Appalachian State and Georgia Southern and the Sun Belt commissioner have continually kept our office apprised of developments throughout the process. “While we’re disappointed to be losing Appalachian State and Georgia Southern, the Southern Conference cannot provide the platform their football programs are seeking. We’ll wish them well when they depart. “Our membership discussions with our presidents, chancellors and athletic directors will continue as they have for the past 18 months and figure to be more focused on specific options with this most recent development. There are quality institutions interested in speaking with us regarding conference membership, and our options remain solid.”