With the addition of Longwood to the Big South Conference Kyle Kallander expanded the conference to twelve full-time members, but could the Big South be back down to ten members rather quickly? The answer will become increasingly clear of the next couple of months and could possibly signal even more changes to the Big South. Liberty University has not been shy in advertising their intentions to move from FCS football to FBS football, which would necessitate a change in conference. Liberty hired Carr & Associates to run a feasibility study for FBS football in Lynchburg and the Flames are expected to announce the next step in their intentions to “upgrade” this April. But could that April announcement also come with a change of conference starting in 2013? Maybe so, the rumor in Lynchburg and beyond is that the Flames already have one foot in the door for membership to the Sun Belt Conference, along with Georgia State of the CAA. It has also been rumored that Sun Belt officials and presidents have been on Liberty’s campus as recent as this week.
If Liberty does indeed move to the Sun Belt it would certainly spell trouble for the Big South in regard to their football conference. Stony Brook is rumored to go to the CAA and with Georgia State leaving could Coastal Carolina join the Big South? According to Heather Gale of the Horry News internal discussion have already begun at Coastal:
At an athletics committee meeting with the CCU Board of Trustees today, most of the discussion lent itself to joining the Colonial Athletic Association, which encompasses a lot of the eastern seaboard, due to a number of students coming to CCU from that area.
Coastal has thought to have sought admittance into the Southern Conference or the CAA for years, but with the constant realignment of college athletics over the past couple of years Coastal’s move could come sooner rather than later.
So what does this mean for the Big South? You would think Kallander would want to fight with his football conference. Perhaps he pursues Kennesaw State who will be starting FCS football in the coming years. Maybe Charlotte is brought in, who is also starting a FCS program, on a very temporary basis as they grow the program. Or the BSC can reach out to MEAC schools like Delaware State and Hampton to join the conference on an associate level. Whatever the remedy may be the conference cannot afford to lose more than two teams. Hopefully it can be avoided, but rumors are already flying about the possibility of VMI going back to the Southern Conference or perhaps even joining the Patriot League.