published Thursday, March 28th, 2013

UTC is not interested in FBS move

Had it wanted to, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga might have been among the teams announcing Wednesday that it was headed to the Sun Belt Conference.

Interim athletic director Laura Herron said UTC was contacted by the Sun Belt two months ago and was asked about UTC's interest in moving from the Football Championship Subdivision up to the Football Bowl Subdivision, as Georgia Southern and Appalachian State did Wednesday.

"I let them know that that was not on our radar at this time, but you never know, with a change in chancellor and a change in AD, what the future might hold," Herron told the Times Free Press. "It's not anything we've looked at."

UTC has hired a new chancellor in Dr. Steve Angle, who will officially be on the job July 1. UTC has resumed its search for a new athletic director and that position could be filled in April.

Until then, Herron said the Mocs are happy to be in the SoCon, their home since 1976. Along with not looking to move up to the FBS, Herron said UTC isn't looking at other FCS leagues.

"We haven't looked anywhere outside the SoCon," she said.

SoCon commissioner John Iamarino said he feels "pretty good" about the status of the nine remaining members. He acknowledged that at least a few have likely explored their options. Davidson has talked with the Colonial Athletic Association within the past year and the Wildcats have been mentioned as a possible target of the Atlantic 10.

"Things can change and we're trying to be as flexible and nimble as we can," he said.

UTC would potentially be attractive to FBS schools because it's in a solid media market, it's easy to get to from every direction and it's football program is on the rise, while the men's basketball program, though struggling in recent years, has a strong history.

Financially, making the numbers work would be very difficult. The FCS scholarship limit is 63; in the FBS, it's 85. UTC also doesn't fully fund all of its sports, so, Herron said, it would be hard to justify spending millions on moving to the FBS when not all programs are at their scholarship limits.

"We're trying to be as competitive as we can on this level," she said.

about John Frierson...

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 ...

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