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  07/03/22 - RB Rasheen AlirJr/2024, Marshall

  July 1 marked the official start of the Sun Belt Conference's expansion with James Madison, Marshall, Old Dominion and Southern Miss joining the conference. The official begin of the "new" Sun Belt marks the culmination of months of rumors, threats and drama that surrounded the decision for the four schools to jump to the Sun Belt. In 2021, three of the four schools announced they would be entering the conference following the 2022-2023 athletic seasons, while James Madison planned to join in July from the beginning. Things changed, however, as Southern Miss, Old Dominion and Marshall informed Conference-USA that they intended to also join the Sun Belt by July 1. The C-USA refused to accept the schools' departure and even released conference schedules for the 2022 football season including the three schools.

Marshall University then filed a lawsuit against the C-USA with the conference shortly thereafter agreeing to allow the schools depart for the Sun Belt early. In order to leave the C-USA early, the schools agreed to pay the conference $2 million for the early departure. Marshall, Old Dominion, Southern Miss and James Madison's move to the Sun Belt expands the conference's reach into new states, adding West Virginia, Virginia and Mississippi. "We are excited to officially welcome James Madison, Marshall, Old Dominion and Southern Miss as members of the Sun Belt Conference," Sun Belt Commissioner Keith Gill said. "This expansion to 14 members - and the regional rivalries it produces - makes the 2022-2023 academic year one of the most anticipated in Sun Belt history and signals the bright future that lies ahead of the conference." - The Troy Messenger

rJr/2024 RB Rasheen AliMarshall
News Source: Troy Messenger

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