NEW ORLEANS (WFXR) – On Saturday, the Sun Belt Conference announced the addition of James Madison University (JMU) into the league after the Sun Belt CEOs unanimously voted the Dukes into the league starting with the 2023-24 school year.
“We are thrilled to welcome James Madison University to the Sun Belt Conference. This move brings another strong brand and passionate fanbase into the Sun Belt and elevates the Dukes’ storied football program to the highest level of NCAA competition. I am grateful to JMU President Jonathan Alger and Athletics Director Jeff Bourne for their leadership during this process and look forward to working closely with them moving forward.”Keith Gill, Commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference
The addition of JMU will bring the number of Sun Belt members to 16 which also includes:
- App State
- Little Rock
- Arkansas State
- Coastal Carolina
- Georgia Southern
- Georgia State
- South Alabama
- Texas State
…as well as other new additions including:
- Southern Miss
- Old Dominion
JMU boasts its four NCAA national championships – two in FCS football in 2004 and 2016, one in field hockey in 1994 and one in women’s lacross in 2018.
The school’s football program has appeared in the FCS playoffs on 17 occasions – including each of the past seven seasons.
In the last decade, the JMU Dukes have built one of the strongest mid-major athletics departments in the country.
In addition to the success of the school’s football program, the last six years have seen JMU win the 2018 NCAA Championship in women’s across, reach the semifinals of the 2021 Women’s College World Series and the 2018 national quarterfinals in men’s soccer.
JMU has continued to build its national profile – finishing inside the top 100 of the Learfield Director’s Cup each of the last six seasons, culminating at number 67 in the country in 2020-21.
All told, the Dukes have racked up 28 conference titles across 11 different sports since 2015.
The Dukes sponsor 18 varsity sports including:
- Cross Country
- Field Hockey
- Indoor Track & Field
- Outdoor Track & Field
- Swimming & Diving
The Sun Belt Conference was founded in 1976 and began sponsoring football in 2001. During the past five five football seasons, the conference has posted an FBS-leading .692 winning percentage in bowl games – going 18-8 over the stretch.
The conference sponsors 17 NCAA sports and annually awards nearly $134 million in financial aid to more than 4,600 student-athletes.
Watch the announcement below, courtesy of James Madison University’s Facebook page.
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