Football not only sport moving up

Photo by: Demario Cullars

Photo by: Demario Cullars

Will Cheney

While the Georgia Southern University football program is moving up to the Football Bowl Subdivision, all of the other sports will be affected and facing new challenges as well.

GSU’s baseball program would continue to face a heavy dose of competition in the Sun Belt as it did in the SoCon. Both conferences have all teams but two with .500 or better overall records in 2013. Out-of-conference scheduling shouldn’t see much of a facelift. In baseball, unlike football, it is more common to see schools from smaller conferences schedule schools from major conferences.

The GSU men’s basketball program, according to the 2012-2013 standings, will leave the SoCon for stiffer competition in the Sun Belt. Six teams in the Sun Belt had better than .500 overall records. The SoCon, however, only had three teams over the .500-mark overall. The news of this transition takes place less than a month after the firing of head coach Charlton Young.

The transition for GSU’s women’s basketball program should be more seamless, depending on the division in which GSU ends up being placed. The Eastern division is much stronger with four of the six teams winning at least 17 games, while the Western division dominated by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

GSU’s women’s soccer program making the transition into the Sun Belt is a unique situation. As of now, the Sun Belt does not offer NCAA intercollegiate men’s soccer, so as of now the women’s soccer program will be the only varsity soccer program at GSU to make the move.

“The department is in the process of exploring options for finding a conference home for the men’s soccer team,” assistant director of GSU Athletics Media Relations said in an email. “It is a common practice for schools with sports that are not offered by their primary conference to join others as an ‘associate member.'”

GSU’s softball program will face a strong Sun Belt schedule following the transition, with six of the nine teams in the Sun Belt having records over .500.

GSU’s women’s volleyball program will transition into the Sun Belt with an Eastern division that was at the mercy of Western Kentucky University with a record of 33-4 (15-0). The Western division, however, is a bit more balanced. As with women’s basketball, it depends on the division in which GSU lands.

With the GSU Athletic Department’s jump from the SoCon to the Sun Belt, there is one aspect that is unchanged–the rivalry between GSU and Appalachian State University, as they have also made the jump to the Sun Belt.