HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) – James Madison University is joining the Sun Belt Conference.
The Dukes have accepted an invite to join the Sun Belt, a JMU spokesperson confirmed to WHSV Friday afternoon. The official announcement comes after James Madison earned state approval Friday morning to make the jump from the FCS to the FBS, the highest level of college football. A press conference to announce JMU’s move to the Sun Belt is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at the Atlantic Union Bank Center.
Join us tomorrow morning at 10am at the @Atlantic_Union Bank Center for a press conference regarding the future of JMU Athletics.
📰 | https://t.co/LtVAt6Sqfe#GoDukes pic.twitter.com/xuxHePqMzX
The Intercollegiate Athletics Review Commission of the Virginia General Assembly met in Richmond Friday morning and voted unanimously to give JMU the go-ahead to make the jump to the FBS and join the Sun Belt. Virginia state legislation requires programs, like JMU, to gain approval from the VA General Assembly when making a change in division. The Dukes are currently a member of the FCS and competing in the Colonial Athletic Association.
JMU President Jonathan Alger and senior Vice President of Administration and Finance Charlie King spoke at Friday’s meeting.
“We have been detailed and thorough in following the scripted process to consider opportunities with the Sun Belt Conference,” said Alger and JMU Director of Athletics Jeff Bourne in a statement. “We are glad to have this key component completed, and we appreciate the assistance of the Commonwealth’s Intercollegiate Athletics Review Commission today. We are excited about the next step for the future of James Madison University and our intercollegiate athletics program.”
Alger said during the meeting that James Madison will plan to begin its transition to the Sun Belt on July 1, 2022. However, JMU football would not be a member of the conference immediately. There is a transition period for programs making the jump from the FCS to the FBS:
For those wondering about the transition time for #JMU FOOTBALL to the Sun Belt:
I'm told JMU will play an "independent" mix of FCS/FBS games in 2022.
As for 2023, that's TBD. #JMU will, for sure, be a full-time @SunBelt football program by 2024. Could be in 2023.
The Sun Belt Conference features teams from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas. To learn more about the Sun Belt Conference, click here.
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