After speaking to The University Star about Texas State’s one and only year in the Western Athletic Conference, Athletic Director Larry Teis followed up on the discussion of Bobcat athletics heading into the Sun Belt conference.
OE: Is Texas State satisfied with its position within the Sun Belt Conference, and is Texas State in a position to make any kind of move further up the conference ladder?
LT: We are satisfied with the Sun Belt Conference, and we always want to make ourselves better, so we are attractive to the Sun Belt and the rest of the country. We need to play into the Sun Belt, and our fans need to come to our games. I hear all the time we need to be in this league or that league. We need to support the Bobcats no matter what league we are in.
OE: Does it discourage you as an athletic director that the Sun Belt has been picked apart in recent months by Conference USA, as the WAC was picked apart just before you joined the conference? Obviously, the Sun Belt has done its part to add new members, but the reality is that the Sun Belt is subject to more changes in the future if the trend continues.
LT: Every league is subject to change. Our goal was to be FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) football first, and we have done this. Conference realignment is crazy and at times ridiculous. The Sun Belt finished third among the five non-BCS (Bowl Championship Series) conferences last year in football. The WAC was first, MAC (Mid-American Conference) second, Sun Belt third, MWC (Mountain West Conference) fourth and Conference USA fifth. The Sun Belt still has the four bowl teams in the league. People don’t understand how good Sun Belt football is. We played a great home schedule last year and too many people missed great football by staying at home. Get to the games.
OE: Would you be opposed to having home football games on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or any non-traditional night to have the games televised on ESPN or any other sports network? And to your knowledge, do you know if the Sun Belt will be moving forward with a similar setup for exposure purposes?
LT: All the five non-BCS conferences have midweek games. If we do, we need our fans to show up. Too many times, you watch those midweek games on television and the stadium is empty. Some of the better-attended midweek games are in the Sun Belt. Fans at some of the Sun Belt schools support their teams really well. We need to do the same.
OE: How important is it to establish a new rivalry in the Sun Belt, and how long do you believe it will take to do so? Without UTSA or Sam Houston State, the faces in the Sun Belt aren’t as recognizable to the average fan. Do you believe that will hurt attendance?
LT: It only hurts attendance if you are not a football fan. Goes back to what I have said before; other schools support their teams while we look for excuses not to attend.