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Southern Miss accepts invite to affix Solar Belt

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Southern Mississippi accepted an invite to affix the Solar Belt Convention on Friday, dealing one other blow to Convention USA, which already had six members announce their departures this week.

Two individuals accustomed to the choice instructed The Related Press that Southern Miss had agreed to go away a convention it helped present in 1995 and be part of the Solar Belt at a date to be decided.

The individuals spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of the Solar Belt was not but ready to make an announcement and was nonetheless engaged on extra enlargement strikes that it didn’t need to tackle publicly.

Solar Belt Commissioner Keith Gill didn’t instantly return a message left by The AP.


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Yahoo! Sports activities first reported Southern Miss had agreed to affix the Solar Belt.

The Southern Miss information comes a day after the American Athletic Convention introduced the additions of six C-USA faculties — UAB, Charlotte, Rice, Florida Atlantic, North Texas and UTSA — additionally at a date to be decided.

Convention USA is all the way down to seven faculties dedicated to the league long-term — Western Kentucky, Center Tennessee, {Old} Dominion, Florida Worldwide, Marshall, Louisiana Tech and UTEP — and that could possibly be dwindling because the Solar Belt continues to develop.

Varied media retailers have reported the Solar Belt has curiosity in including Marshall and {Old} Dominion, and has additionally mentioned inviting FCS powerhouse James Madison.

The chairman of Marshall’s board of governors stated in a tweet the college’s resolution on convention affiliation will come after a brand new faculty president is in place subsequent week.

“The Marshall Board of Governors will title a brand new president at subsequent Thursday’s board assembly,” Patrick Farrell posted on Twitter. “We’re going to attend till the brand new president has an opportunity to offer enter earlier than making a call about our athletics convention affiliation. We’re assured we’re in an incredible place.”

C-USA Commissioner Judy MacLeod launched an announcement Friday that didn’t point out Southern Miss’ departure, however stated the convention had a “sturdy core to construct round.”

“There are a number of establishments serious about becoming a member of Convention USA, each throughout FBS and FCS, a few of whom we’ve already met with in particular person,” MacLeod stated. “Each step we take can be deliberate, strategically sound, and intentional. We’ll take the required time so as to add future members that would be the finest match from an athletic and tutorial standpoint and permit potential establishments time to finish their course of. We proceed to consider within the regional idea and can look to include that into our construction and scheduling. There are definitely many questions on the market, however an incredible deal is going on behind the scenes. When acceptable, we are going to launch extra data, although out of respect for these concerned, we are going to proceed to function outdoors of the general public area.”

Earlier this month, MacLeod despatched a letter to AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco proposing a merger of kinds between the 2 far-flung conferences. The AAC had no curiosity and as an alternative poached practically half of C-USA.

Southern Miss, positioned in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, matches completely within the Solar Belt’s smaller footprint, between Alabama-based faculties Troy and South Alabama to the east and Louisiana-Monroe and Louisiana-Lafayette to the west.

USM’s soccer has a historical past of success that dates again many years, together with Brett Favre main the Golden Eagles to upsets of Florida State, Alabama and Auburn throughout his profession from 1987-90. Southern Miss gained 4 C-USA titles early within the convention’s existence.

Because the composition of C-USA modified, Southern Miss misplaced a lot of its longtime rivals comparable to Louisville, Memphis, Houston and Tulane, and this system has slipped in relevance.

The Solar Belt provides an opportunity for Southern Miss to lower journey prices and construct new regional rivalries.

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