BURN THE HORSEIn a story in today's Sentinel-Record, Visit Hot Springs says they're taking a wait and see approach to the future of the Sun Belt Conference Basketball Tournaments.
The story reacted to news that the Sun Belt Conference was openly courting other cities to host. The most interesting part was this quote from Steve Arrison, CEO of Visit Hot Springs: "If their qualifications are that we have to host the football, and the conference office, and basketball, we can't do that. We don't have the facilities to do that."
This is the first we've heard that the Sun Belt wants to have all three, the football championship game, postseason basketball tournament and the conference office all in the same location. The Sun Belt would be eligible for a football championship game next season. Hot Springs does not have a suitable football stadium. It might also be the end of the Sun Belt Conference's offices long-time stay in New Orleans. (Update: We forgot about the UNT and FIU departure. That leaves the SBC two short for a championship game next year. And it makes its inclusion in this even more strange).
Hot Springs has a contract to host the basketball tournament in 2013 and 2014. The Sun Belt says it will reach a decision about the future of the tournament by May 1, 2013.
The story also says Hot Springs might look toward the Division II Great American Conference if the Sun Belt goes elsewhere. It doesn't mention the Division I Southland Conference, but that would also seem to be a fit. Hot Springs has spent a lot of money attracting the Sun Belt Conference. No doubt they'll use that money to attract another tournament if the Sun Belt goes away.