Georgia State's path to the FBS appears to be through the Sun Belt Conference. A report by Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com says that the conference will extend an invitation to the Georgia State program as early as Thursday.
Sun Belt Conference presidents held a vote on a conference call on Monday, according to CBSSports.com, to determine if Georgia State will receive an invitation to the conference. No official invitation has been offered as of yet, according to new Sun Belt commissioner, and former WAC commissioner, Karl Benson.
"We had a conference call among our board of directors Monday to discuss membership," Benson said. "I provided them an update on Georgia State."
Georgia State has been competing in the Colonial Athletic Association since 2005 in all other sports besides football, which is scheduled to join the conference this fall after starting up the program in 2010. The CAA, among the top conferences in the FBS ranks, is currently discussing the idea of increasing the exit fee from the conference, an effort to protect some of the most likely candidates to move up to the FBS in the near future (other conference members include Villanova, who has hinted they will continue exploring potential moves up to FBS and the Big East just last month).
If the CAA manages to increase the exit fee from the current rate of $250,000, it could deter a program like Georgia State from making the move, even if the Sun Belt offers to help out with the funding. Georgia State would need to declare their intentions by July 1 so they could begin a transition year in the Sun Belt in 2013 and become eligible for postseason play in 2014.
This year the Sun Belt Conference will add South Alabama to the conference on such a transition schedule. The Jaguars are moving up to the FBS starting this season, and will be eligible for postseason play in 2013. The WAC is also adding a couple of schools beginning a transition this season. Texas State and UT - San Antonio will each follow the same process.
The Sun Belt Conference is also looking out for their own stability moving forward. With the merger between Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference in need of extra members to fill some intended holes in the lineup, the Sun Belt Conference could be in danger of losing some of the more lucrative members in Florida and Texas. CBSSports.com's report has singled out Florida International and North Texas as prospective members of the merged super conference.
Kevin McGuire is a national college football writer for Examiner.com and the host of the No 2-Minute Warning podcast. Submit your mailbag questions via Tumblr. He can be reached at email@example.com.