UTA to Join Sun Belt Conference in 2013

UTA to spend only 1 season with the WAC

The University of Texas at Arlington is joining the Sun Belt Conference.

The university said they've accepted an invitation to join the conference starting on July 1, 2013. 

The Mavericks are wrapping up their final season in the Southland Conference, where they have been since the conference was created in 1963. Next year they will play one season in the WAC before joining the Sun Belt.

In the Southland Conference, UTA has won 54 conference championships, including this past season’s men’s basketball title, since the start of the 1996-97 academic year, the school said in a news release.

“This is another milestone day for UT Arlington athletics,” UTA director of athletics Jim Baker said. “I want to thank commissioner Karl Benson for the invitation to compete in the Sun Belt Conference. This move to the Sun Belt will allow us to continue to showcase our athletics program on a national level and create further awareness for our university.”

UT Arlington has 14 Division I sports, including baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's golf, softball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and field, and women's volleyball.

The school does not sponsor a football team, and hasn't since the program was canceled in 1985 due to finances.  The school has not said if they plan to bring back the program, but school president James Spaniolo has said the university has never closed the door on once again fielding a football team.

The Mavericks will join Arkansas State, Arkansas-Little Rock, Florida Atlantic, UL Lafayette, UL Monroe, Middle Tennessee, South Alabama, Troy and Western Kentucky in the Sun Belt Conference. Also joining in 2013 are Georgia State and Texas State.

A 12th football team in the Sun Belt Conference sure would even things up a bit.  Just saying.

“The addition of UT Arlington is tremendous for the Sun Belt Conference as the league will now move forward with 12 member institutions with two six team divisions,” Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson said. “UTA will help continue the rise of the Sun Belt Conference as a national contender in intercollegiate athletics.”

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