Georgia Southern and Appalachian State, leaving the Southern Conference for the Sun Belt, will be ineligible for the SoCon football championship in 2013, commissioner John Iamarino said today.

The two football powers, with nine FCS national titles between them, will begin a two-year transition to FBS this year. Minimum scholarship requirements will take GSU and App State above the 63-scholarship FCS limit, rendering them ineligible for the FCS playoffs.

App State and Georgia Southern will play a full eight-game SoCon schedule in 2013, and their games and statistics will count. But the SoCon champion, which will earn the league’s automatic bid to the playoffs, will be the “eligible team with the best record,” Iamarino said.

Meanwhile, Iamarino must turn his attention to replacing GSU, App State and College of Charleston, heading to the Colonial Athletic Association.

“It stings, no question about it,” said Iamarino, who said he hopes to have new members in place by June. “But we feel good about where we are as a conference, and frankly this decision will help energize and refocus our membership.”

Read more in Thursday’s Post and Courier.