Times are changing, and only the strong will survive. This is the attitude the Sun Belt Conference and its members must have if they intend to keep up in the ever evolving world of college athletics.
The message seems to have been received by all 11 football playing members of the Sun Belt. Just take a look around the league. More specifically take a look at the stadiums and athletic buildings around the conference.
For example, the new indoor practice facility currently under construction at Arkansas State, or the new turf being laid down at Malone Stadium in Monroe. Multiple Sun Belt schools have updated the stadiums they call home. Georgia Southern and Louisiana have each added an additional 6000 seats, and the Cajuns have also added a much needed new HD video board.
New Mexico State opened up their renovated weight room earlier this summer to go along with a new turf playing surface. Idaho also recently made improvements to the Kibbie Dome, including renovations to the structure to improve fan experience.
Not to be out done, Appalachian State and Texas State have added new LED video boards and ribbons. Also, Troy is home to the conference's best press box, the three story facility is capable of housing 1000 guests along with the working press.
In addition to all of the upgrades for football, several universities have put Master Plans in place, for the improvement of all sports facilities. Louisiana currently has a 115 million dollar plan calling for improvements to the soccer and track facilities, a brand new athletic complex, and a new basketball practice facility. ULM recently unveiled plans to add a new locker room in the end zone at Malone Stadium. Georgia State also has plans for their baseball, softball and volleyball facilities to be upgraded.
University Presidents and Athletic Directors have realized if they hope to stay competitive on and off of the field they must invest in all of their sports facilities. The ever growing arms race in college sports means that someone will come along with something newer and shinier. When this happens, the Sun Belt must be able to answer if they hope to stay competitive. As long as there is a commitment to excellence by member universities, the Sun Belt will continue to rise.