Monday, April 9, 2012

Sun Belt Conference? Georgia State University is In!

Sun Belt Conference
Georgia State University is In!

(Monday, April 9, 2012)
Today's 2 p.m. press conference at The Georgia Dome confirmed the buzz that Georgia State would accept the Sun Belt Conference's invitation to rejoin the Sun Belt! (In August of 1976, GSU was one of 6 founding members of the Sun Belt Conference.) 
Approaching the Dome, via the Blue Carpet, at the gate where the Panthers enter during their "Panther Walk" on Game Days. (The band performed today, too!)

I arrived at one o'clock, and took a seat on the fifth row, behind the reserved seats. Coach Bill Curry, and his wife Carolyn, were among the first to arrive, so we had a nice five minute visit. Dr. Becker joined us, shook hands, chatted a minute, then asked Coach, "Can you believe it's only been 36 months since you and I sat down to talk about a football team?"

Coach Curry responded shaking his head just a little, "I know. And right after that, people were already asking, 'When are we going to be Division I?' I told them, we don't even have a chin strap yet! We don't have a football! I never thought it would happen this fast!"

Needless to say, as Coach Curry continued to greet the fans, there was excitement, and an air of anticipation. Fans, coaches, and players lined the walls waiting for the panel to arrive. The chairs were full.
Coach Bill Curry, center, greeting fans. 
Full House with Standing Room Only, Awaiting the Start of the Press Conference!
(There was another whole section of chairs to the left of this photo, as well.) 
L to R: Dave Cohen, Carl Benson, Cheryl Levick, Dr. Becker, Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. 
"Voice of the Panthers," Dave Cohen (in photo at the podium), started the press conference by introducing the panel, from far right of photo, Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. Chancellor of Troy University and Sun Belt Conference President, Dr. Mark Becker, President of Georgia State University, Cheryl Levick, Director of Athletics, and Carl Benson, Commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference.

Introduction and Carl Benson's speech (3 minutes):

30 Second Video of the Conference President's actual invitation to join the conference, and presentation of Sun Belt Hats to President Becker and Cheryl Levick:

President Becker spoke of joining the Sun Belt Conference as another example of Georgia State University's "continually raising the bar on ourselves. He said, "We are delighted we will kick off our second century competing in the Sun Belt.

Video of President Becker's Official Acceptance (20 seconds):

Cheryl Levick stated that under Dr. Becker, GSU is growing in size and stature as a research university. She talked about how being in the Sun Belt Conference will increase exposure and notoriety for the entire university. Ms. Levick took advantage of the opportunity to ask Commissioner Benson to consider relocating the Sun Belt Conference offices to Atlanta, and to schedule tournaments and playoffs here.

Ms. Levick flashed huge grin as she spoke of Georgia State's "big step up" to one of only eleven conferences with post season bowls, emphasizing "FBS, Folks, FBS!" She then praised the marketing and publicity staff for their efforts to start publicizing GSU's Sun Belt affiliation, as the banner shown below was unfurled.

GSU has formally withdrawn from the CAA. Decisions about conference playoffs this year, as well as paperwork and other details for the NCAA, are still pending. 

The panel entertained questions from the press, then adjourned the conference, while key people moved to a private room for one on one press interviews. The Panther Family--fans, players, coaches, and staff--lingered and mingled, basking in the afterglow! WHAT AN EXCITING DAY!

142 Days till we kick-off our THIRD SEASON!


P.S. Please "Like" GSU Panther Mama on Facebook!

No comments:

Post a Comment