Georgia State officially accepted an invitation to join the Sun Belt Conference on Monday. The Panthers' move affects the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga football program because the teams have games scheduled for 2013 and '14.
UTC athletic director Rick Hart said this week that those games are still on despite GSU's move up to the Football Bowl Subdivision.
"They've given us an early indication that [moving up] shouldn't impact the contract or the schedule," Hart said. "We won't be shocked if as they go through the process [the games] may not be able to hold, but the early indication is that we're still playing."
Ordinarily an FBS team wouldn't visit a Football Championship Subdivision program, though a transitioning Western Kentucky team played at Finley Stadium in 2007, but Hart said he didn't think that would be an issue. The Panthers will play in the Colonial Athletic Association next season, their first and only season of football in the CAA, before joining the Sun Belt in 2013.
Arena upgrades in '13
Hart said UTC most likely will not begin renovating McKenzie Arena this summer. The plans to put new seats in the lower bowl are still in the works, but between getting all the necessary approvals and finding the blocks of time needed when the arena isn't in use, it appears doubtful that work can begin before 2013.
"I don't think we've reached the point of where we've absolutely determined that," Hart said, "but we've certainly started to look more toward trying to block some time following next season or [spring of 2013] graduation, whichever date it is that will dictate that."
John Frierson is in his seventh year at the Times Free Press and seventh year covering University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics. The bulk of his time is spent covering Mocs football, but he also writes about women’s basketball and the big-picture issues and news involving the athletic department. A native of Athens, Ga., John grew up a few hundred yards from the University of Georgia campus. Instead of becoming a Bulldog he attended Ole ...