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Carl Pelini walks off the field following Friday's practice. (OwlAccess.com photo)

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Staying in the Sun Belt

Florida Atlantic President Mary Jane Saunders said FAU will remain in the Sun Belt Conference after not receiving an invitation from the new conference made up of members of Conference USA and the Mountain West.

Originally published on 3/23/2012

by Marcus Nelson

BOCA RATON – After  failing to receive an invitation to join another conference Florida Atlantic will remain in the Sun Belt Conference, President Mary Jane Saunders told Owl Access on Friday.

“I can tell you we have not been invited to another conference,” Saunders said. “I think those decisions have already been made. I think it's finished now. ...We're staying in the Sun Belt.”

There had been speculation that FAU would attempt to secure an invitation from the new conference that will be formed from members of Conference USA and the Mountain West. That conference announced it would explore expansion.

Apparently those plans will not include FAU.

FAU AD Craig Angelos, who was fired on Tuesday, told Owl Access last week that there had not been an recent discussions between Conference USA and Mountain West officials since the merger was announced in February.

FAU had said all along it possibly would have chosen to remain in the Sun Belt Conference even if did receive an invitation to the new league.

The Sun Belt Conference also could be in expansion mode after new commissioner Karl Benson said he would explore adding teams to the conference.

FAU coach Carl Pelini said the football program still has a chance at success even if it remains in the Sun Belt Conference.

“I wouldn't have come here if I didn't think they could flourish at the Sun Belt level,” Pelini said. “The conference alignments landscape is changing day-to-day. All I can do is win football games, fill that stadium and the whole horizon opens up for us.”

Friday's Practice Browser

  • Making plays: TE Hakeem Ishmar had some nice grabs from QB David Kooi in passing drills.
  • Stepping up: With C Jimmie Colley limited after colliding with a teammate in off-season workouts, Jordan Sessa took some snaps with the starting unit.
  • Instant message: “I think that's when it becomes football to them and not flag football,” Owls coach Carl Pelini said about Saturday's first full-pad workout.
  • Up Next: The Owls don full pads for the first time this spring for Saturday's practice beginning at 10 a.m.

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