Editor's note: Another version of this article originally was published earlier this summer by the Southern Sports Journal.
By David Coulson
Executive Editor/Managing Partner
College Sporting News
PHILADELPHIA — While some Football Championship Subdivision teams use playoff success to springboard their squads to the Football Bowl Subdivision, a new strategy is being tried by many start-up programs.
Schools like UNC Charlotte are devising plans for short transitory stints in FCS before moving quickly into the FBS waters.
The Charlotte 49ers will begin play in 2013 and hope to be playing at the FBS level before the end of the decade.
South Alabama began play just two years ago and will join the Sun Belt Conference in 2013, while Texas-San Antonio will start playing this season before making a hurried move to the Western Athletic Conference in 2013.
Texas-San Antonio was recruited along with the more-established Texas State program to move to the WAC in 2012 to revitalize a league tottering on the brink of disaster after losing Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada to the Mountain West Conference.
Such schools are following a strategy that was utilized effectively by South Florida and Central Florida in the 1990s, and to a less-successful degree by Florida Atlantic and Florida International in 2004.
Old Dominion began play in 2009 and moves to the powerhouse Colonial Athletic Association this fall, while Georgia State played for the first time in 2010 and will begin CAA action in 2012.
But there is pressure on both schools already to move to the FBS ranks.
After putting together a 6-5 record in its first season, Georgia State athletic director Cheryl Levy said she immediately began to get advice from school alums on the future of the Panther program.
"People are telling me 'Cheryl, you have a winning record, let's transition out and go to those bowl games.' I've been stunned by people wanting to start a transition process to get to the big game."
In Charlotte's case, the 49ers stated intention to move has caused it problems in terms of conference affiliation. UNCC was turned down as a football-only member by both the Southern and Big South conferences this spring because it was unwilling to make a move from the Atlantic 10 in other sports and because of its stated goal of FBS membership.
The 49ers' best hope for a temporary home might be the CAA, but Charlotte would likely have to move all of its sports to the CAA to seal such a marriage.