La. Tech to Sun Belt?

In the aftermath of BYU's clandestine efforts to secure a spot in the WAC for its non-football sports as it pondered football independence and the subsequent counter-attack by Mountain West Conference Commissioner Craig Thompson, the Sun Belt Conference may be primed to put the final nail in the WAC's coffin.

Speculation about Louisiana Tech is running rampant as multiple sources within the Sun Belt Conference have indicated it may extend an invitation to the Bulldogs. However, it's not clear if there is support among all members of the conference.

And there's good reason. There is a history between Louisiana Tech and the Sun Belt that runs deeper than its membership in the league prior to the conference establishing football. There are some hard feelings that still persist about Tech's departure and its subsequent efforts to undermine the Sun Belt since it left.

One such case occurred in 2001 when Louisiana Tech essentially blocked an 8-3 Middle Tennessee squad from securing an at-large bid to a bowl game. The Louisiana Tech administration refused to work with the Sun Belt that would have kept Louisiana Tech closer to home for its bowl game and likely sent Middle Tennessee to the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise. All of the parties of the deal had come to an agreement except Louisiana Tech who refused to oblige the deal. Instead, Louisiana Tech went to the Humanitarian Bowl where the Bulldogs were taken to the woodshed by Clemson.

But Louisiana Tech could help solidify the Sun Belt's future. Although most media will have you believe the Sun Belt is the worst conference in the nation, the reality is the Sun Belt has been quite successful head-to-head against both C-USA and the MAC over the past few years. And though Tech hasn't been competitive in the WAC, it's reasonable the Bulldogs would benefit from being able to play more games in its recruiting footprint.

For this to happen; however, both the membership of the Sun Belt and the administration of Louisiana Tech are going to have to check their egos. Fans are going to be fans, and you would probably have a hard time finding any on either side who would want to see this happen, but this decision isn't about the fans. This boils down to administrators and leaders of Louisiana Tech and the Sun Belt's membership making good business decisions. And business decision number one says the Sun Belt stands to gain more money with one less conference to split the non-AQ revenues. Inviting Louisiana Tech would likely end the WAC and adding another such as New Mexico State would certainly pull the plug on the WAC's life support.

Louisiana Tech can't survive as an independent and an invite to C-USA does not appear to be on the horizon. If Louisiana Tech joins the Sun Belt as more realignment moves loom, the Sun Belt may turn out to be the biggest winner as C-USA could be in a precarious situation since several of its programs have been rumored to be targets of more powerful leagues. At the very least its making a merger between C-USA and Sun Belt look more plausible by the day.

Either way, it's likely that Louisiana Tech and members of the Sun Belt are going to be mates again whether that's sooner or later, so perhaps now is the right time to leave the history in the past and accept that each party will probably benefit with Louisiana Tech in the Sun Belt.

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