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Thread: Utah State gets invite to join Sun Belt

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    Sun Belt shines on Utah St.
    Paul J. Letlow / ULM reporter
    Posted on October 18, 2002


    The Sun Belt Conference has extended Utah State an invitation to join the league in all sports, while Idaho is also under consideration to join as a full-fledged member.

    "The conference took initial steps toward stabilizing its I-A status," Sun Belt commissioner Wright Waters said by phone from Logan, Utah, on Thursday. "People should look for announcements in the next few days to next couple of months."

    League presidents voted Wednesday at the Sun Belt meeting in New Orleans to offer Utah State membership and to begin formal discussions with Idaho about full membership. Utah State is a I-A football independent, with its other sports aligned with the Big West.

    Louisiana-Monroe, now straddling two leagues, is standing pat. ULM football and women's swimming and diving are Sun Belt members. Most of ULM's sports are affiliated with the Southland Conference, which sponsors Division I-AA football.

    ULM athletics director Bruce Hanks, who attended the Sun Belt meeting along with school president Dr. James Cofer, said ULM officials are evaluating long-term plans for athletics.

    "I think long-term to the extent that it's possible, it's better for a school to be affiliated with one conference," Hanks said. "It's not always possible because conferences don't always sponsor all the sports that you sponsor. But I think generally speaking, it's a fair statement to say that it's best to be affiliated with one conference."

    Beginning in 2005, Division I-A conferences will be required to have at least eight full-time members. The Sun Belt has five, with Idaho and ULM participating in football.

    Beginning in 2004, new NCAA rules will require, among other criteria, that institutions average a minimum of 15,000 for home games to maintain Division I-A football status. ULM has struggled with football attendance in recent years, and that uncertainty has school officials moving cautiously.

    "I think because of the way things are coming together, we have to be proactive as opposed to taking a wait-and-see attitude," Hanks said. "Just as we as an institution are doing long-term planning for academics, we have to do that for athletics as well."

    Waters said the conference is exploring further expansion and hopes to have everything in place by July 1, 2003. ULM will probably need to have a more defined direction by then.

    "I think as commissioner, the only thing I can say now is they are at a point where they are evaluating what their options are," Waters said. "Any comment on their intentions should come from them."

    ULM has averaged 9,405 actual attendance through four home games in 2002. ULM's announced figure is a turnstile count rather than paid attendance figure.

    "We've chosen to take a very accurate, auditable number of actual people in the stands," Hanks said.

    Hanks said ULM is doing everything possible to maintain its I-A status.

    "We're doing everything we can to meet the requirements for I-A as outlined in the new rules," Hanks said. "Ultimately, some of those things we can control and we can impact. It also depends on other people's actions. No. 1 on that is attendance. No doubt, we'd like to average 15,000 at home contests, whether we're I-A or something else."

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJ
    ULM has averaged 9,405 actual attendance through four home games in 2002. ULM's announced figure is a turnstile count rather than paid attendance figure.

    "We've chosen to take a very accurate, auditable number of actual people in the stands," Hanks said.
    I guess this means that those two games that had less than 7000 fans show up were offset by two games where more than 11000 were on hand! Anyone wanna bet old Bruce sends some fans through the gates more than once?

    ULM...NLU...it doesn't matter, they're still LOSERS!

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    ops: ULM athletics director Bruce Hanks, who attended the Sun Belt meeting along with school president Dr. James Cofer, said ULM officials are evaluating long-term plans for athletics. ops:

    INTERPRETATION: We're shopping around for a buyer for the real estate our stadium stands on. If we can't sell it, then our only option is to ask our old friend Pat Collins to wake up and revive us with the same pills he'll be taking.

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