Football Only Membership, Does It Work?

Fans have expressed some concern over how permanent a football only membership will end up being for the Sun Belt members added football only. We take a look at the history of football only affiliation.

Since the NCAA restructured the top level of football after the 1981 season, football only affiliation has been relatively rare. Only 24 of those agreements have been made since that change. There are currently only four active agreements, Hawaii in MWC, NMSU and Idaho in Sun Belt, and Navy is set to join the AAC.

It seems that these "marriages of convenience" have a way of working themselves out. On average the football only agreements have lasted less than four seasons. Only twice has a football only affiliation lasted more than 7 seasons.

Walking through them in order, all dates are the date play began and ended unless otherwise noted:

Big East: In 1991 the Big East added West Virginia, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, and Temple football only. Four years later WVU and Rutgers became all-sports members, 10 years later Va.Tech became a full member and 11 years later the league announced Temple would be expelled after their 14th season in the league.

Big West: 1992. The Big West added Arkansas State, Louisiana, Louisiana Tech and Northern Illinois as football only members. The teams were expelled after the 1995 season.

Conference USA: 1997 East Carolina joined for football, became all-sports four years later. Army joined football only in 1998 and left after seven years to become an independent again.

Big West: 1999 Arkansas State returned for two seasons in the Big West ahead of the formation of the Sun Belt.

Sun Belt: 2001 the league formed with Idaho and ULM as football only members. Idaho accepted a full membership effective 2005 but withdrew to join the WAC. ULM joined as a full member in 2005.

Sun Belt 2003: Utah State joined football only and like Idaho accepted a full membership before withdrawing to join the WAC in 2005.

Mid-American Conference: 2002 Central Florida came in for football only and departed after three seasons for C-USA.

MAC: 2007 Temple joined the league football only and left after five seasons for the Big East.

Big East: 2011 the league added Boise State and San Diego State as football only members. Each withdrew from the Big East before actually playing a game.

Big East: 2012 Navy announced as a football only member, will enter in 2015. East Carolina was announced as a future football only member, four months later they were extended full membership.

MAC: 2012 UMass joined football only and has recently been expelled effective after the 2015 season meaning their time in the league will have been four years.

Mountain West: 2012 Hawaii joined football only and is currently still a football only member.

Sun Belt: 2013 announced Idaho and New Mexico State as football only members starting in 2014.