Texas State joining Sun Belt

SAN MARCOS, Texas -- Texas State is going to the Sun Belt Conference after only one season in the WAC.

The Sun Belt said Wednesday that Texas State will join the league in July 2013 and begin conference play for the 2013-14 academic year.

Texas State is going into its first season at the Football Bowl Subdivision level in 2012, when coach Dennis Franchione will lead the Bobcats into what will be their only WAC season. The school has 16 varsity programs.

"There was energy and excitement," said Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson, who attended a press conference announcing the move. "Truly a very, very successful launch."

Texas State joins current Sun Belt Conference members Arkansas State, Arkansas-Little Rock, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, UL-Lafayette, UL-Monroe, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, South Alabama, Troy and Western Kentucky.

In addition, Georgia State also will join the conference in 2013 after accepting a bid last month. Texas State and Georgia State would make up for the potential loss of FIU and North Texas, which will reportedly jump to Conference USA.

Benson hinted that more changes will be on the way for the Sun Belt this week. Benson said he's hopeful the league's membership will be finalized in the next few days as the Sun Belt waits for other conferences to finalize plans.

"The addition of Texas State and Georgia State is part of a plan and a strategy that the Sun Belt has in place to bring in quality universities. Not only to allow the Sun Belt to get bigger, but to get better," he said.

The Bobcats are leaving the Southland Conference in July for the WAC. But they'll spend only one year in that league before jumping to the Sun Belt -- a move that helps the league maintain a presence in Texas even if the Mean Green leave.

"It was important that we remain in the state of Texas, and Texas State certainly does that, regardless of what happens with the University of North Texas," Benson said.

Texas State, which won the Southland title in 2008, will increase the seating capacity at Bobcat Stadium to 30,000 in order to support the move to an FBS conference.