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Sun Belt Conference Adds Beach Volleyball as Championship Sport

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MONROE, La. – The Sun Belt Conference announced Wednesday the addition of beach volleyball as a conference-sponsored sport. ULM will compete in the SBC’s inaugural season in 2023.
 
It marks the first time the ULM beach volleyball program will compete in the same conference as the rest of the university’s intercollegiate sports. It is the third conference in the beach volleyball’s program history, after competing in the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association in 2021 and Conference USA in 2022.
 
“We are pleased and excited to welcome Beach Volleyball as our 19th championship sport,” Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Keith Gill said. “As the fastest growing collegiate sport, particularly within the footprint of the Sun Belt, it is a perfect fit for our conference. We’re looking forward to providing an elite competitive and championship environment for the student-athletes, coaches and fans of Sun Belt Beach Volleyball.”
 
“We are so excited the Sun Belt has stepped up and given us a forever home,” ULM head beach volleyball coach Michael Hobson said. “The way the SBC handles all other sports for ULM with such high class, it is truly exciting to know beach volleyball will be treated the same.”
 
In conjunction with the CCSA, the Sun Belt Conference will co-host a conference championship in 2023. The event is set for April 27-29 at the John Hunt Sand Volleyball Complex in Huntsville, Ala. The winner of the conference championship will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championship. Other institutions competing in beach volleyball will be SBC members Coastal Carolina, Georgia State and Southern Miss along with affiliate members Charleston, Mercer, Stephen F. Austin and UNCW.
 
“Another great aspect of this move is the competition the Sun Belt will have,” Hobson said. “It is great being able to compete against current Sun Belt teams like Georgia State, Southern Miss and Coastal, but welcoming in other programs we truly respect in UNCW, Mercer, SFA and Charleston only adds to the strength of our conference.
 
“The Sun Belt always hosts some of the best conference tournaments at the end of the season, and for our season to be capped off with the Sun Belt champion getting an automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA tournament in its first season is truly amazing,” Hobson said. “I want to thank Kathy Keene and the SBC team for all their hard work in making this happen.”
 

The Warhawks open the 2023 season on Feb. 24-25 at the Texas A&M-Kingsville Invitational. The Warhawks will also compete at Nicholls, Mary Hardin-Baylor, the Mardi Gras Classic hosted by Southeastern, UAB and New Orleans while hosting tournaments on March 24-25 and April 7-8.
 

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