Coastal Carolina will become the 12th member of the Sun Belt conference next year and transition to the top tier of college football, a person directly involved in the decision told The Associated Press on Monday night.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the conference and school were not prepared to make an official announcement. A news conference is planned for Tuesday on Coastal Carolina’s campus in Conway, South Carolina, near Myrtle Beach.
Coastal Carolina will become a full Sun Belt member in all sports but football next year. The Chanticleers’ football team competes in FCS. NCAA rules require a one-year transition period for schools moving up to FBS. Coastal Carolina will need to expand its stadium to meet FBS requirements and join the Sun Belt in 2017.
USA Today was first to report last week that the Sun Belt had narrowed its choices to Coast Carolina and Eastern Kentucky.
Coastal Carolina drew some national attention in 2012 when it hired former TD Ameritrade CEO Joe Moglia as head football coach. The unconventional move has paid off on the field. The Chanticleers are 32-10 under Moglia with three straight FCS playoff appearances.
The Sun Belt has 11 members, including Texas-Arlington and Arkansas-Little Rock, which do not compete in FBS. The Sun Belt’s 11 football schools include football-only members Idaho and New Mexico. With 12 football teams, the Sun Belt could hold a league championship game, starting in 2017.