Norfolk, VA (Sports Network) - Old Dominion University's football program has
enjoyed such a fast rise in the Football Championship Subdivision that it's
ready for an even higher step.
ODU announced on Thursday that it will move to Football Bowl Subdivision and
join Conference USA in all sports beginning with the 2013-14 school year.
In giving Conference USA a 14th member for 2013-14, the Monarchs will leave
the Colonial Athletic Association.
Football was the driving force in the decision. This fall, ODU's football
program will play its fourth season as a startup program and second in the
"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
ODU football has been wildly successful in its first three seasons under head
coach Bobby Wilder. The Monarchs have a 27-8 record in that time, and tied for
second place in the CAA and reached the second round of the FCS playoffs last
Broderick thanked the CAA and said he would like to continue playing non-
conference games against member schools.
However, the opportunity to take the football program to the FBS was too good
for the Monarchs to pass up.
"As we moved through this process, I was encouraged by the widespread and
broad-based support we received from all constituencies, both within and
outside the ODU community, for a possible move to the C-USA," Broderick said.
"Similar to the enthusiasm we experienced when we started football, we have
already received commitments of more than $3 million in private support for
the move, and our fundraising will continue through the summer. This
philanthropic support enables us to join Conference USA without increasing
student fees, which was a critical factor for the board and me."
Five schools -- Florida International, Louisiana Tech, North Carolina-
Charlotte, North Texas and Texas-San Antonio -- recently finalized membership
agreements to join Conference USA.
The conference's other members for the 2013-14 school will be Alabama-
Birmingham, East Carolina, Marshall, Rice, Southern Mississippi, Tulane, Tulsa
Current C-USA members Houston, SMU, UCF and Memphis are leaving for the Big
East Conference in 2013.
The Sports Network