Georgia State officially announced on Monday that it will join the Sun Belt Conference beginning in the 2013-14 academic year.

"On behalf of the presidents and chancellors of the member institutions of the Sun Belt Conference, I am pleased to welcome Georgia State University home to the league that it helped start in 1976," Sun Belt president and Troy University chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins said in a statement. "The Sun Belt Conference has never been stronger athletically, academically or financially, and today we took action that makes us even stronger. For the Sun Belt Conference -- the best is yet to be."

Georgia State was a founding member of the Sun Belt Conference, but it left the conference in 1981. Georgia State started to play football in 2010. It is currently a member of the Colonial Athletic Association at the FCS level.

"The addition of Georgia State to the Sun Belt Conference provides further strength for our league and is the beginning of a new era for GSU that will unquestionably be a time of great success for the Panther athletic program," Sun Belt Conference commissioner Karl Benson said. "We strongly believe that the addition of GSU will continue to help the Sun Belt Conference in its rise to prominence."