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Troy State joins Sun Belt Conference

TROY, Ala., May 23 (UPI) -- Troy State, currently a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference in all sports but football, Friday accepted an invitation to join the Sun Belt Conference.

The Trojans will become a full member of the Sun Belt in the fall of 2005, with the football program beginning play a year earlier. The Sun Belt extended the Trojans an invitation during its spring meeting.

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According to Atlantic Sun Conference guidelines, a university seeking to withdraw its membership must give a two-year notice by June 1. Troy State will officially inform the Atlantic Sun within the next week of its intent to leave. The Trojans had been a member of the A-Sun since 1997.

"Our admission to the Sun Belt is another positive step for the Trojans as we work hard to solidify our status as a Division I program," said Troy State Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins.

With Idaho and Utah State also set to become members of the Sun Belt, the conference will have eight full-time members who play football beginning in 2005, and nine total with football-only member Louisiana-Monroe.

Troy State had been an independent in football.

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The Trojans have put together an ambitious football schedule this season, with road games against Kansas State, Minnesota, and Nebraska.

"By gaining membership in the Sun Belt Conference, I believe it fully enhances our position as a full I-A football institution," said Troy State Athletic Director Johnny Williams. "By having conference affiliation, it will enhance our ability to meet and maintain our I-A certification."

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