NEW ORLEANS – The Sun Belt Conference will hold its first ever football championship game as the league’s presidents and chancellors, as well as athletic directors, voted unanimously to play the game beginning in 2018.  The announcement was made Wednesday.

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“On behalf of the Sun Belt Conference’s Presidents and Chancellors I am excited to announce that the conference will conduct its first ever football championship game following the 2018 regular season,” said Sun Belt Conference and Texas State University President Dr. Denise Trauth.  “We have furthered the mission of providing the best possible experience for our student-athletes as this will truly be a first-rate experience. I am also proud to say that the Sun Belt Conference presidents and chancellors, along with the athletic directors, were 100 percent unified in this decision.  The unanimous vote carries with it a great sense of community and camaraderie for all of the Sun Belt Conference.”

“This is a historic moment that represents yet another step forward for the Sun Belt Conference,” said Commissioner Karl Benson.  “The membership of the Sun Belt has been engaged in a significant number of advancements for the betterment of the league - to an extent this is the culmination of those efforts.”

“This past year we solidified our membership with the addition of Coastal Carolina and the decision to move forward as a 10-team football league.  When the NCAA Division I Council passed new rules on championship games, we knew our 10-team lineup for 2018 was going to be ready to move forward with a vote.  I applaud all of the leaders of the Sun Belt membership in their unanimity on this issue.”

“Sun Belt football student-athletes will make everlasting memories playing in the championship game during the upcoming years.  This championship will be a first-class experience – and we look forward to it being a launching-pad for a team to reach the College Football Playoff’s ‘New Year’s Six’ bowl games.”

Details regarding how the two participants will be selected will be available at a later date.  Rules set forward by the Division I Council in January require conferences with fewer than 12 members to hold championship games in football, as long as they meet one of two conditions.  A conference can choose to either play their championship game between division winners after round-robin competition in each division or between the top two teams in the conference standings following full round-robin, regular-season competition between all members of the conference.