OLD DOMINION JOINS CONFERENCE USA
NORFOLK - The countdown is over. Today, July 1, 2013, Old Dominion University begins a new era in its athletic history as a member of Conference USA.
The Monarchs are one of eight institutions joining C-USA today, bringing the league’s membership for 2013-14 to 16 teams. Joining ODU as new members are Middle Tennessee, Louisiana Tech, Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, North Texas and Texas San Antonio. East Carolina, Marshall, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Southern Mississippi, Tulane, Tulsa, Texas El Paso and Rice comprise the rest of the league membership.
“Old Dominion University’s move to Conference USA will elevate the national profile of our athletic program and provide opportunities for new levels of excellence. With its national footprint and extensive television package, Conference USA will also raise awareness of the university’s outstanding academic and research programs and reach a new audience of students looking for the energetic and challenging college experience ODU offers, ” says Old Dominion University President John Broderick.
Conference USA is an established, nationally recognized FBS Conference that sponsors 20 sport championships, which will be home for 12 of ODU's sport programs. While all of ODU's sport programs other than football have been competing on the Division I level since 1976, the reclassification of football to FBS (formerly known as I-A) status comes just four years after the university brought football back to the campus in 2009. The Monarchs have posted a 38-10 record over that span, becoming one of the most successful FCS start-up programs in history, and have been in the top five in FCS attendance with 29 consecutive sellouts of 20,000 fans per game.
“Today, July 1, is a day the Old Dominion athletic program has been looking forward to since our announcement on May 17, 2012, when we announced we were joining Conference USA,” says ODU Director of Athletics Dr. Wood Selig.
“Conference USA has tremendous brand awareness with its members spanning 10 states, representing 12 of the top 65 media markets in the U.S. Membership in the conference will elevate the competitiveness of our sports programs to a higher national level, which in turn will assist our coaches in recruiting some of the best athletes from across the country, as well as internationally. We are delighted today to become a member of Conference USA,” adds Selig.
Football will not compete in the conference until 2014, as they begin the first year of the transition from the FCS to FBS level of football classification this fall, playing a mixed schedule of five FBS and seven FCS schools. The Monarchs will play eight C-USA opponents and be eligible for the league championship in 2014, and eligible for one of the six C-USA affiliated bowl games in 2015. Conference USA members also enjoy significant national and regional television exposure and revenue sharing through a multi-tiered package that includes partnerships with CBS Sports Network, Fox Sports Media Group and ESPN. Two of ODU’s football games this fall will be carried by the Fox College Sports Network, including the opening contest on Aug. 31 at East Carolina (7 p.m.) and the season home finale on Nov. 16 vs. Charlotte (noon).
"Old Dominion will be a welcome addition and a tremendous fit within our conference. Their institution enjoys a storied history, forward-thinking leadership and unlimited growth potential." says Conference USA Commissioner Britton Banowsky.
Conference USA sponsors championships in football, baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's golf, softball, women's swimming, men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and field, women's rowing, and women's volleyball. ODU does not field teams for men's and women's cross country, men's and women's track and field, softball and women's volleyball. ODU field hockey will compete as an associate member this fall in the BIG EAST Conference, while wrestling joins the Mid-American Conference, also as an associate member. The women’s lacrosse program will compete as an independent in 2014 and join the Atlantic Sun Conference as an associate member in 2014-15. The co-ed and women's sailing programs compete as a non-scholarship member of the Intercollegiate Sailing Association.
Old Dominion had been a member of the Colonial Athletic Association since 1992, where it enjoyed great success by winning 51 conference crowns, led by 17 straight women's basketball titles from 1992 to 2009, 15 crowns in field hockey and six men's basketball championships. In joining C-USA, the Monarchs will be reunited with former CAA member East Carolina, as well as Charlotte and UAB, both former members of the Sun Belt Conference where ODU was a member from 1982 - 1991. ODU elevated its athletic programs from NCAA Division II status to Division I in 1976 and competed as a member in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) from 1977-1982.
What ODU Soccer Coaches are saying about joining Conference USA
Joe Pereira, Women’s Soccer
“We are looking forward to this exciting move to C-USA not only as an athletic department but as a rebuilding program. We are embracing all the new challenges with travel and new opponents as a great opportunity to establish ourselves as one of the top teams in C-USA.”
Alan Dawson, Men’s Soccer
“C-USA men’s soccer is one of the most competitive leagues in the country. The quality of the league is reflected not only on the playing field but also in the commitment to soccer venues and facilities. We are excited to meet the challenge that C-USA presents to us and look forward to a bright future in the league.”