May 24, 2012
Arlington, Texas - The University of Texas at Arlington announced today that it has accepted an invitation to join the Sun Belt Conference starting on July 1, 2013.
"We are honored to join the Sun Belt Conference," UT Arlington president James D. Spaniolo said. "This move will help us continue to advance the interests of our university. Along with the opening of the College Park Center just a few short months ago, this move to the Sun Belt is another clear sign of the growth of not only our athletic department but of our entire university."
"This is another milestone day for UT Arlington athletics," UTA director of athletics Jim Baker said. "I want to thank commissioner Karl Benson for the invitation to compete in the Sun Belt Conference. This move to the Sun Belt will allow us to continue to showcase our athletics program on a national level and create further awareness for our university."
"The addition of UT Arlington is tremendous for the Sun Belt Conference as the league will now move forward with 12 member institutions with two six team divisions," Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson said. "UTA will help continue the rise of the Sun Belt Conference as a national contender in intercollegiate athletics."
UT Arlington has an enrollment of 33,500 and sponsors 14 Division I intercollegiate sports - baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's golf, softball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and field, and women's volleyball. The Mavericks will play in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) during the 2012-13 season.
UT Arlington is finishing its final season as a member of the Southland Conference where it has been a charter member since 1963. UTA has won 54 conference championships, including this past season's men's basketball title, since the start of the 1996-97 academic year.
Formed in 1976 the Sun Belt Conference quickly rose to the greatest heights of collegiate athletics by sending a team to the NCAA Final Four in the league's first year of existence. Fast forward 36 years and the league again finds itself at the pinnacle of collegiate athletics as a member of the 11 league alliance of the Bowl Championship Series. Through it all, the constant has always been success, progress and academic excellence.
With the move, UT Arlington will join current Sun Belt Conference members Arkansas State, Arkansas-Little Rock, Florida Atlantic, UL Lafayette, UL Monroe, Middle Tennessee, South Alabama, Troy and Western Kentucky. In addition, Georgia State and Texas State also will join the conference in 2013.
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