July 1 used to be a blip on the college sports calendar, the official date an administrator would move into a new role or an athletics department’s website would switch host companies.
Days before America’s Independence Day, July 1 has become college sports’ mixture of New Year’s Day and Independence Day. Thanks to realignment, the beginning of each college sports calendar is the date every conference move traditionally becomes officially official.
The SEC, Big Ten and ACC are done making moves (for now), which means today’s movements are really the ripple effects of other movements — UAB officially re-joins Conference USA and Coastal Carolina officially joins the Sun Belt.
UAB, of course, never left C-USA in its other sports, but the re-launch of its football program places the Blazers back in their old home. Coastal Carolina’s other sports, including its national champion-once-removed baseball team, joined the Sun Belt in 2016, and football makes the move complete in 2017.
UAB posted a 6-6 mark in its final season of 2014, while Coastal Carolina went 10-2 and finished the year ranked No. 18 nationally as an FCS independent. The two schools will, fittingly, meet on Sept. 16 in Birmingham.
The final three aftershocks of the realignment earthquakes that erupted at the beginning of this decade will become official after this season, when the Sun Belt gives the boot to its far western outposts in Idaho and New Mexico State. New Mexico State will remain in FBS as an independent (the Aggies’ other sports are in the WAC), while Idaho will marry its football program with the rest of its athletics department in the FCS Big Sky Conference.