Report: Coastal invited to join Sun Belt Conference

ccufoot-fansMultiple media outlets are reporting that Coastal Carolina University will join the Sun Belt Conference after the league voted to extend an invitation to the Chanticleers, and the school has called a press conference at 1 p.m. Tuesday for a major announcement.

ESPN’s Brett McMurphy cited unnamed sources on his Twitter account Monday afternoon, announcing that “Coastal Carolina will join Sun Belt in football in 2017-18, all other sports in 2016-17.” Others close to the situation confirm that the Sun Belt, which has been considering whether to invite CCU or Eastern Kentucky to create a 12-team FBS league, selected the Chants over the Colonels.

Coastal has already publicly stated that it would accept an invitation from the Sun Belt if one is extended, so barring a change of heart the Chants appear poised to make the move from FCS to FBS in football. All other CCU sports already compete at the top level in the Big South Conference. Brooks Stadium would have to be expanded to accommodate 20,000 fans if the move is made.

Coastal has added new facilities for basketball, baseball and softball in recent years and is widely regarded as an up-and-coming athletics programs. Eastern Kentucky has struggled on the gridiron over the past two decades, failing to advance past the first round of the FCS playoffs since 1994.

The move would mean a serious increase in travel costs for the Chants in all sports. The Sun Belt currently includes Appalachian State, Arkansas State, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Louisiana Lafayette, Louisiana Monroe, South Alabama, Texas State and Troy. New Mexico and Idaho are football-only members.

Coastal is a founding member of the Big South Conference. The impending departure could have a devastating effect on the mid-major league.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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