Georgia State football finds a conference

The offer was made, and the pass was thrown.

The result: a completion on both.

Georgia State was officially made a member of the Colonial Athletic Association for football beginning with the 2012 season in a balloon- and cheerleader-fueled rally at the university's student center Thursday.

CAA commissioner Tom Yeager extended the invitation, and GSU President Dr. Mark Becker accepted. Athletics director Cheryl Levick then took a blue-and-white football that had CAA on one side and Georgia State on the other and threw it up in the air.

Luckily, coach Bill Curry was there, arms raised.

"I'm glad you caught that coach," Levick said in front of a couple of hundred people crowded into the center's atrium.

The Panthers will be the CAA's 14th member when they begin conference play. GSU already is a member of the CAA for other sports. The Panthers will play football as an independent until 2012.

This year, the players will report to school Aug. 11, and the first practice will be Aug. 17. Curry said the first game will be Sept. 2, 2010. He said they have some games scheduled for 2010 and 2011, but declined to name the opponents.

Levick said that the school will roll-out a ticket initiative in mid-August — and that won't be the only new thing.

Pounce, Georgia State's mascot, will get a makeover, as will the school's fight song. Playing that song will be a new marching band. Levick said she hopes to have all of them ready to go by the time students report in August.

"All part of the marketing scheme, to use my phrase, knock your socks off," Levick said, "or, to use coach Curry's phrase, 'knock you naked'."