Ten Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) schools are planning to create a football-only conference and move up to the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), according to an ESPN report.
According to the report, the remaining football members of the ASUN Conference and the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) have each signed an agreement to form a new league. The schools include four from the ASUN — Austin Peay, Eastern Kentucky, Central Arkansas, and North Alabama — and five from the WAC — Stephen F. Austin, Abilene Christian, Utah Tech, Southern Utah, and Tarleton State.
The 10th school, the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), doesn’t currently sponsor football, but plans to begin their program in 2025 and compete in the WAC.
The 10-team league plans to transition to the FBS level “at the earliest practicable date,” per documents obtained by ESPN. A transition from FCS to FBS is usually a two-year process, per NCAA rules.
More from the ESPN report:
The league hasn’t picked a name but has narrowed the options. In the founding documents, it’s referred to as “ASUN-WAC Football,” which won’t be the name moving forward.
The programs from the two conferences are familiar with each other after partnering in 2021 and 2022 to gain automatic qualification for the FCS playoff.
The reasoning for the new league is, according to sources, “greater certainty in scheduling and recruiting” and a clear pathway to the highest levels of college football. Also, the schools expect increased revenue through a more lucrative broadcast contract and increased guarantee-game revenue because the games would count toward bowl eligibility if they became an FBS league.
The report comes on the heels of a major round of conference realignment last year that resulted in four FCS programs announcing moves to the FBS level. James Madison moved up and began play in the Sun Belt Conference this season.
Jacksonville State and Sam Houston are slated to move up to the FBS level on July 1, 2023, followed by Kennesaw State one year later on July 1, 2024. All three teams will compete in Conference USA.