UT Arlington to join Sun Belt Conference for 2013-2014 season

The move places UT Arlington in an 11-league conference with broad media exposure.

The University of Texas at Arlington announced today that it has accepted an invitation to join the Sun Belt Conference beginning July 1, 2013, with conference play beginning in the 2013-2014 academic year.

UT Arlington will play in the Western Athletic Conference for the 2012-2013 academic year.

Jim Baker, UT Arlington’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, called Sun Belt announcement “another milestone” for the University and thanked Commissioner Karl Benson for the conference invitation.

“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,” Baker said.

UT Arlington President James D. Spaniolo said the Sun Belt move will continue to advance the University’s goals of becoming a first tier institution.

“We are honored to join the Sun Belt Conference,” Spaniolo said. “Along with the opening of 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 of the UT Arlington Athletics program but of our entire university.”

Benson said that the addition of UT Arlington is tremendous for the Sun Belt Conference as the league moves forward with 12 member institutions with two six team divisions.

“UT Arlington will help continue the rise of the Sun Belt Conference as a national contender in intercollegiate athletics,” Benson said.

UT Arlington has an enrollment of nearly 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 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. Today, the league again finds itself at the pinnacle of collegiate athletics as a member of the 11-league alliance of the Bowl Championship Series.

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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Media contacts: Kristin Sullivan, kristinsul@uta.edu, 817-272-5364

Gregg Elkin, gelkin@uta.edu, 817-272-5706

The University of Texas at Arlington, www.uta.edu

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