RPI-based non-conference scheduling on the way for Sun Belt

Jonathan Lintner

Athletics Director Ross Bjork said at a meeting with the WKU Student Government Association on Tuesday that the Sun Belt Conference will mandate a more strict non-conference scheduling policy for men’s basketball in an effort to raise the league’s overall ranking in the Ratings Percentage Index.

A source confirmed that the new policy will be finalized at the Sun Belt’s fall meetings next week and be implemented beginning with the 2011-2012 season.

The new rules say, according to the source, that the average non-conference RPI of teams on Sun Belt member non-conference schedules cannot be above 150.

Talks began at the Sun Belt’s spring meetings to raise the overall profile of the league, which placed just one team in the men’s NCAA Tournament last spring. And that team, North Texas, was seeded 15th in its region. Realtimerpi.com ranked North Texas No. 104 after the season.

Sun Belt commissioner Wright Waters told the Bowling Green Daily News in August that he’d like to have a solution for the conference’s woes in place by the time basketball media day rolled around.

“The CEOs are incredibly concerned about the league in men’s basketball,” Waters told the Daily News. “Once upon a time back in 1976 when the league was founded, it was as good a league as you’d find in the country – we had a team in the Final Four the first year. But the reality is that a lot of those schools aren’t here anymore.”

Reporter Mike Stunson contributed to this story.