This is a good time to move to the FBS, it's not too early and not too late. ASUN was a great fit for KSU in the present, but it is time for KSU to plan for the future. Timing is everything and you want to be at a position of influence before it is too late.
KSU is becoming too big for ASUN. KSU is a FCS school in a FBS market while ASUN is focusing to attract the likes of smaller universities in small markets. Part of the reason why KSU hasn't attracted fans in a higher capacity is because of some of the opponents. KSU will offer more scholarships, recruit more competitively in the region, and will be more visible in the national stage. To be honest, it is Conference USA that needs KSU more than the other way around. KSU addition is a win for CUSA. For KSU, this is an opportunity to be at a conference and be instantly competitive at the same level as it was at ASUN. Opponents wise, we already have pre-existing relationships with Liberty and Jacksonville State. We are already familiar with FIU (Florida market). Instead of going to EKU, we will be playing WKU, instead of Central Arkansas, we will be playing LATech, instead of APU, we will be playing MTSU, with the major adjustment being that we will be traveling to Texas and New Mexico.
Also, fundraising will get easier with a more attractive package to offer the stakeholders: students, alumni, corporate sponsors, etc. People are more willing to give to a FBS school versus a FCS school, with the right leadership. KSU has the right leadership, is in a strategic geographic location in a rising media market. Students will attend games with bigger opponents. When GT came, the basketball game was sold out, when we had the game with Jacksonville State, that drew a crowd.
Right now is a great time to join because of shifting alliances/re-alignments, while NCAA is transitioning to new rules. KSU wants to go into a conference where it can be among the leaders, Conference USA offers the best opportunity in that effort. The reality is, the attendance will not change much in the next five years unless there is a major transition or move. People want to see bigger names, compete with bigger fan bases. With respect to APU and UNA, people want to see bigger names like New Mexico State.
KSU will be more influential in Conference USA than the other major conferences, which is being re-alligned, therefore, the time is right to consider the move now. Actually, this will energize the fan base a bit more to get more interested. It will also make KSU more attractive for some of the coaching staff to stay rather than make the leap to FBS schools.
Yes, we will miss the ASUN, it was an important piece of KSU. But I remember having this conversation when we were debating the move to Division 1 from Division 2, we knew we would loose the edge of always winning championships at the Division 2 level for the move to Division 1. We were getting too big for simply being Division 2 to attract the talent for the next level. Are we better off at Division 1? I believe so. Now is the time to move to FBS. We are ready for the next chapter. Too Soon? I think not, the time is right.
I will add this, I don't think KSU would have proceeded with this move if they didn't take the coaches in to confidence. For it to reach the Board of Regents, it must have had the support of Coaches to feel that they are ready for the next move, particularly the coaches who have been here for the long haul. Also, there is enough confidence within the BoT to attract more donors to KSU. You can't attract the big donors to a FCS school, but you can to a FBS school. Of all schools that are considering moving up to FBS, KSU is the one with the best resources to get it done in a growing market.