Thomas Ashworth, Sports Editor
After moving to the ASUN Conference this year, reports hint that Jacksonville State may be on the move.
According to a Twitter post by Brett McMurphy, an insider with Action Network HQ, “FBS independents Liberty & New Mexico State & FCS members Jacksonville State & Sam Houston State likely joining Conference USA as all-sports members, sources told @ActionNetworkHQ. Addition of those 4 schools will help replenish C-USA after recent losses.”
According to a source from the report, an official announcement of the four new schools could happen by the end of the week.
New Mexico State is a member of the Western Athletic Conference in all sports except football, where they are independent, while Sam Houston State, the reigning FCS Football National Champions, are members of the Western Athletic Conference in all sports. Liberty is a member of the ASUN Conference in all sports except football, where they are independent.
Despite the recent move, many view the ASUN Conference as a launchpad to an FBS Conference. Florida Atlantic University, University of Texas at San Antonio and Florida International University are all past members of the ASUN Conference who are now in Conference USA.
Many schools have recently announced their departure from C-USA. Rice, Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, UAB, North Texas and UTSA are leaving for the American Athletic Conference, while Marshall, Old Dominion and Southern Miss are joining the Sun Belt Conference.
Today, it was reported by McMurphy that pending approval, Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee will also leave C-USA, as both schools are “likely” to join the Mid-American Conference very shortly.
If this report becomes reality and the Gamecocks move conferences yet again, this will mark the third conference change in just a few seasons.
This article will be updated as more information is released.
Attempts to reach JSU Athletic Director Greg Seitz were unsuccessful. However, reports from the Anniston Star on Tuesday quoted Greg Seitz saying, “I can confirm that Conference USA has reached out to us, and we have had discussions with league officials about the possibility of Jacksonville State joining the conference,” Seitz said Tuesday afternoon. “The landscape of collegiate athletics is constantly changing, but probably at a more rapid pace now than ever before.”
JSU head football coach John Grass was also quoted in the report, saying in this Tuesday news conference that “”I would say this: if Jacksonville State is ever going to move up to FBS, probably now is the time. It’s now or never in the landscape of college football. That’s my opinion on it, for what that matters.”