The demise of the insta-conference CAA continues, with the Old Dominion Monarchs announcing they'll ship their non-football sports to Conference USA beginning in 2013, with football joining in 2015. With Charlotte also coming on several years down the road, CUSA will soon have itself a fine collection of promising, if brand new, football programs. CUSA will have a wide assortment of football programs on board for the time being, having added four others for 2013 already.
(This also means at least three conference realignment moves -- including Navy to the Big East -- aren't set to happen until after next season, meaning conference realignment is going to be with us for a very long time.)
The official release on the matter:
IRVING, Texas - Conference USA has entered into a membership agreement with Old Dominion University beginning in July 2013, Commissioner Britton Banowsky announced today.
"We are extremely pleased to add Old Dominion to Conference USA," Banowsky said. "They are a tremendous university with, not only a great tradition in athletics, but an extremely bright future. Their leadership team has a bold vision for the University, which fits well with our plan for the future of the Conference."
Located in Norfolk, Va., Old Dominion features an enrollment of 24,753 students and sponsors 16 NCAA Division I sports. ODU will join Conference USA for all sports in 2013-14, with the exception of football, which will move up to the Football Bowl Series (FBS) level for conference competition in the 2015 season. The Old Dominion football program has sold out every game since the program was reinstated in 2009. The school is located in the No. 43 media market in the country. (More Info on Old Dominion)
Earlier this month, University of North Carolina at Charlotte (Charlotte), Florida International University (FIU), Louisiana Tech University, University of North Texas and University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) finalized comprehensive membership agreements to begin competition in Conference USA for 2013 as well. Current C-USA members that will remain in the league in 2013-14 include East Carolina University, Marshall University, Rice University, University of Southern Mississippi, Tulane University, The University of Tulsa, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and University of Texas El Paso (UTEP). The metro area population of these 14 schools is nearly 19 million.
"Our new 14-member model will significantly expand the Conference's market penetration and enable us to continue to stage our championship game," Banowsky added. "Moreover, we will be able to compete in two divisions that are geographically balanced, fan-friendly and sensitive to the needs of our student-athletes."
"The Presidents and Chancellors of Conference USA universities are pleased to include Old Dominion in our future plans," said Dr. Scott Cowen, Tulane University president and Chair of Conference USA's Board of Directors. "They possess all the attributes of a tremendous University and will make a great addition to our Conference. With the six new members in place, we are stable and poised for great things in the future."