The Old Dominion Monarchs will play a Conference USA football schedule beginning in 2014, ODU athletic director Wood Selig said on Thursday.
Old Dominion announced in May that they are joining Conference USA in football in 2015, while all other sports will join for the 2013-14 season. According to The Virginian-Pilot, C-USA athletic directors agreed earlier this week to include Old Dominion in the 2014 football schedule.
ODU, currently a member of the Colonial Athletic Association in the FCS, will begin transitioning to the FBS in 2013 and will play as an FCS Independent before becoming a member of the FBS in 2014. The Monarchs will become an official member of C-USA in 2015 and will then be eligible for to complete in the conference championship game and bowl games.
The inclusion of Old Dominion in the 2014 C-USA football schedule means that the Monarchs will not have to schedule 12 games as an FBS Independent. They will play eight Conference USA games and four non-conference games.
Selig said ODU will play eight C-USA teams, including four at home and four away. Selig said the schedule is likely to include games with schools geographically closest to ODU, including ECU, Southern Mississippi, Marshall, Alabama-Birmingham and Florida International. The Monarchs already have a 2014 road game scheduled with UNC Charlotte, which joins C-USA in 2015.
For the 2013 season, the Monarchs currently have games scheduled at Norfolk State and home against Charlotte. ODU is reportedly talking to several ACC schools for games in 2013, but no contracts have been finalized.
Conference USA is losing Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF to the Big East in 2013. But they will add Florida International, North Texas, Louisiana Tech, and UTSA in 2013 and Charlotte and ODU in 2015 which will give them a total of 14 schools.
ODU athletic director Wood Selig also stated on Thursday that Conference USA will keep two divisions in 2015. The likely setup, which appears to be purely geographical, is as follows:
- East: Charlotte, East Carolina, FIU, Marshall, Old Dominion, Southern Miss, UAB
- West: Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Rice, Tulane, Tulsa, UTEP, UTSA