Appalachian State moving up to FBS

Updated: March 27, 2013, 5:54 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

BOONE, N.C. -- Appalachian State has announced it is leaving the Southern Conference to join the Sun Belt in 2014.

The Mountaineers, who won three consecutive FCS national championships from 2005-07 and captured 10 Southern Conference titles in football, will be stepping up to play at the FBS level.

Appalachian State will begin playing Sun Belt games and will be a revenue-sharing member of the conference in 2014 and be allowed to compete for the conference title. However, the Mountaineers will not be eligible to play in a bowl game until 2015.

Appalachian State joins Southern Conference rival Georgia Southern in the Sun Belt.

Appalachian State joined NCAA Division I in 1970 and has been a member of the Southern Conference since 1971. The Mountaineers have competed at the FCS level since 1982.

Appalachian State's most memorable win came in 2007 when it pulled off a historic 34-32 upset over No. 5 Michigan, marking the first time that an FCS program ever toppled a nationally ranked FBS opponent.

"I am proud that Appalachian has this opportunity to compete in the Sun Belt Conference," Appalachian State chancellor Kenneth Peacock said. "Our student-athletes have earned the opportunity to participate at this level of collegiate athletics and we welcome the new academic and athletic relationships that will develop as a result of this partnership."

The addition of Georgia Southern and Appalachian State gives the Sun Belt 10 football members in 2015. They join Arkansas State, Georgia State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, South Alabama, Texas State, Troy and Western Kentucky.

In addition, Arkansas-Little Rock and Texas-Arlington help make up the 12 teams participating in basketball beginning in 2014.

The football schedule for Georgia Southern and Appalachian State for 2013 will not change.

However, neither team will be eligible to win the Southern Conference championship or participate in the FCS playoffs this season.

There are some sports teams that won't participate in the Sun Belt Conference. The Mountaineers field hockey team will continue to compete in the NorPac Field Hockey Conference and men's soccer and wrestling will stay in the Southern Conference.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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