Old Dominion Monarchs to join Conference USA in 2015

By Kevin Kelley -

Old Dominion joins C-USAThe Old Dominion Monarchs have accepted an invitation to join Conference USA, the school announced this afternoon.

Old Dominion is the sixth program this year to announce a move to Conference USA. They join Charlotte, Florida International, Louisiana Tech, North Texas and UTSA, who each announced their decisions earlier this month.

ODU will join C-USA in football in 2015 while all other sports will join for the 2013-14 season.

The Monarchs restarted their football program in 2009 and played as an FCS Independent before joining the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) in 2011. Prior to that, they played as the William & Mary Norfolk Division Braves from 1930 to 1941.

In their first three seasons since the restart, the Monarchs have compiled an overall record of 26-7 and earned a berth in the 2011 FCS playoffs where they defeated crosstown rival Norfolk State 35-18. ODU narrowly lost the next week 55-48 at Georgia Southern.

“While the university was not actively seeking a change, recent events necessitated an earlier consideration of our future, and in particular, for our football program,” ODU president John R. Broderick said in a statement. “C-USA’s invitation provided the right opportunity at the right time to reclassify our football program and broaden the national footprint of our athletic program.”

Conference USA will have 12 football playing members for the 2013 season and 14 when Charlotte and Old Dominion join in 2015. The conference will likely keep their East-West divisions, but it is not yet known how the new alignment will shake out.

Based purely on geography, this is what Conference USA could look like in 2015:

East Division

West Division

Comments (36)

Norfolk, Va. population 242,00
Boone, NC population 14,000

not all that stupid
this is about TV sets and TV money

You’re absolutely right, PNB. I played high school football in Virginia, and let me tell you, the Hampton Roads area is HUGE football recruiting ground which until now has been relatively untapped. Prospects from Phoebus, Hampton, Oscar Smith, etc. who don’t get recruited by UVA or VT finally have a chance to play close to home. Not to mention, the Monarchs just came off a 10-3 season, finished second in the CAA and reached the second round of the FCS tournament in the first season they were eligible. Very much looking forward to seeing ODU compete in C-USA in both football and basketball. Only qualm is that their stadium seats about 20,000, but it can be expanded pretty easily.

ODU should wait two more years, IMO (5 years @ 1-AA level). UNCC (FB anyway) should wait until 2017.

I expect UTEP will leave on good terms and go to the MWC which will means that ODU will b the 12th team. If UTEP does move, that would push someone (USM) to the west division.

My feeling is that App State wanted CUSA more than CUSA wanted App State. If APP still wants to upgrade, the Sun Belt would accept them in an instant.

I guess you can’t tell the teams in the conferences without a scorecard these days.

I’m just curious, why does everyone bash the Sun Belt conference when comparing it to conference USA? The two conferences appear very similar to me; they are both non-AQ status, they both have 2-3 “strong” teams year in/year out that occasionally score a win against a mid-major AQ team and whenever there is a meeting head to head between two teams from their respective conferences the Sun Belt team generally wins (i.e. MTSU 2-1 vs Memphis,Troy 2-1 vs UAB).

A lot of it has to do with history and tradition. C-USA teams like Houston, SMU, Rice (in the SWC), ECU, Marshall, and Tulsa would put up consistently good seasons, while most of the Sun Belt teams have only been FBS for about a decade or so, and only Troy has been strong year after year. I think that by the time all the conference movement is over, the Mountain West, C-USA, and Sun Belt will be on roughly the same footing. C-USA loses three of its best teams (Houston, SMU, UCF), MWC loses its two best teams in Boise and SDSU, but the Sun Belt only loses a couple of middle-of-the-road teams in FIU and North Texas, while keeping Troy, Arkansas State, and WKU.

If Troy had a larger market (small town about 1 hour from Montgomery and 1 hour from Dothan) they would already be in C-USA
they win no matter the level

Don’t forget the best team in C-USA history ….Southern Miss
If they had any sort of a market the Big East or Big 12 would be all over them

I wouldn’t exactly call Southern Miss the best in C-USA history. They won the C-USA championship last year, but it was their first in 8 years. In the interim, Houston and ECU were the top dogs. Also, consider that Southern Miss was virtually nonexistent before they joined C-USA, except for the few year they had Brett Favre. On the basis of winning tradition, you really can’t compare Southern Miss to Houston or SMU, who regularly kept up with the likes of Texas in the Southwest Conference.

I beg to differ
5 C-USA titles in 16 years and by far the best winning percentage makes Southern Miss the best in the conferences short history. Also Southern Miss has the best winning percentage of all the current C-USA members in all football games played.
The facts stack up, yes Houston was a good Southwest conference team. You could say they were 4 best overall behind Texas, Arkansas and A&M. They would be 2nd or 3rd in C-USA along with ECU but behind USM

just to add to the facts

Conference USA football titles
Southern Miss 5
Louisville 3
Central Florida 2
East Carolina 2
Houston 2

The Hattiesburg, Miss. metro market is 150,000 and support in the state is dwarfed by Ole Miss and Miss. State. USM is stuck in a second-tier situation.

yes just what I said
they have no market – if they did they would be in a better conference
They are stuck in a small state with 2 other schools in the SEC. They are the largest school in the state and I would not say they are dwarfed by Ole Miss and Miss State. They have a much better fan base in Mississippi than Troy or UAB has in Alabama behind Auburn and Alabama.

HB is 113 miles from New Orleans. There’s no appreciable fan base in New Orleans that would translate to TV households. Both Ole Miss and Miss. State draw 60,000 – 65,000 to home games. USM draws 30,000 at the most. Apparently, you do not live in Mississippi. The Ole Miss and State alumni and fan base DO dwarf USM.

I live in Alabama Mike
USM has a stong fan base in Mobile, more than Ole Miss or Miss State. I know Miss State and Ole Miss have more fans than USM but the eagles do have a strong fan base – especially in South Mississippi. It is a fact USM has a larger enrollment. My comparison was to Troy and UAB. USM has a stronger fan base in a much smaller state than Troy or UAB has in Alabama. Mississippi has only 2.9 million people and Alabama has 4.7 million.

Maybe the reason USM has less alumni in Mississippi than the other 2 is due to them moving to Mobile and New Orleans after they graduate…….

Miss State and Ole Miss put 60k in the stands to see Alabama, Auburn and LSU
USM would do the same for those teams but who wants to see Tulane, Rice and UAB?????

I’ve been to and Auburn-Ole Miss game in Oxford. It would be safe to say 25k to 30K of the 65K were wearing orange & blue and yelling War Eagle. This was when Ole Miss had a good team with Eli Manning at QB too

Pretty weak conference now. The Mountain West too. The FBS is getting saturated with more and more below average teams. Money is the primary driver now. Competition and winning are taking a back seat.

4 16 teams super conferences are on the way

Lookout ACC! With the SEC making peace with the Big 12 you could be in trouble next

Gotta agree the Big 12 and SEC are being proactive and looking at 16-team formats. Big 10 and Pac-12 follow suit and ACC is left out – just like that.

we do agree on this Mike

NC State and Va Tech to the SEC

FSU, Miami to the Big 12 with Louisville, Maryland, Clemson, Cincinnati and Notre Dame on the radar

Although SC and Florida would block it, I would still love to see Clemson and FSU in the SEC. Just a better Saturday afternoon fit for me.

As you said, extremely weak conference now. At least with SMU, Houston, UCF and Memphis in there, you had some large markets and recognizable names.