The realignment wheels keep spinning, and this time it could include a massive addition to the FBS ranks. ESPN reported Friday that 10 schools from the ASUN and Western Athletic Conference are in the early stages of combining to create a football-only league that will make the jump from FCS to FBS sometime in the near future.
The new league would consist of Stephen F. Austin, Utah Tech, Eastern Kentucky, Austin Peay, Abilene Christian, Southern Utah, Tarleton State, Eastern Kentucky, Central Arkansas and North Alabama. UT Rio Grande Valley is also slated to join the group once its program gets off of the ground prior to the 2025 season. The new league would then become the 11th FBS conference and would be considered part of the "Group of Five," which obviously could re-consider its name once the new conference joins the FBS ranks.
The goal for the new conference, which does not have a formal name yet, aims to begin play at the FBS level in 2024 as its members go through the NCAA-mandated two-year "transition process." The NCAA also has a rule that prevents single-sport conferences from joining FBS, but the report indicates that the rule will likely be lifted, clearing the pathway for the league to come together.
If the new league does come together, it would be the latest in a bevy of additions to the FBS rankings. James Madison joined the Sun Belt in the 2022 season and posted an 8-3 record. Jacksonville State and Sam Houston State will join Conference USA next season, and Kennesaw State is slated to join C-USA in 2024.