"The Sun Belt Conference Presidents and Chancellors authorized me two weeks ago to use Sun Belt funds at my discretion to entice both bowls to take a Sun Belt team. As a result, the Sun Belt made very significant financial offers to both bowls that clearly exceeded anything the Sun Belt has done in previous years."
Benson was referring to the five bowl-eligible Sun Belt teams who were left out of bowl consideration. I have no idea what "significant financial offers" mean, but I'd guess it's a large amount.
Here's a better idea. Instead of throwing this money away, why don't you use these apparent "significant" funds to help men's basketball. Across the league, your teams are struggling to get home games against Division I opponents. Since the home team wins most of the time in college basketball, more home games almost always equals more victories.
Or use these "significant" funds to set up some neutral site-type games. That would at least give your conference teams an equal chance to be successful in nonconference play.
Check out the number of nonconference home games played this season by Sun Belt schools. Keep in mind that everyone except Western Kentucky is already playing 2 non-Division I games:
- UALR: 4 home games (2 D1)
- Arkansas State: 6 home games (4 D1)
- Georgia State 4 home games (2 D1)
- Louisiana-Lafayette: 6 home games (4 D1)
- Louisiana-Monroe: 4 home games (2 D1)
- South Alabama: 7 home games (5 D1)
- Texas-Arlington: 6 home games (4 D1)
- Texas State: 5 home games (3 D1)
- Troy: 5 home games (3 D1)
- Western Kentucky: 8 home games (7 D1)
UALR even played one game short on their schedule this year, unable to entice anyone to come for what they could offer. That's not a way to become a successful basketball team. It's definitely not a way to have a successful basketball league.
Or why don't you use the "significant" funds to get some Sun Belt games televised on a channel people can actually watch. In the duration of the Sun Belt TV deal with CSS/Cox, I've never been able to watch a single game.
And just wait until Western Kentucky, and the exposure they bring, departs the Sun Belt next year.