Conference USA threatens legal action against schools departing league early

S.B. Ballard Stadium
Posted at 10:50 PM, Feb 15, 2022

NORFOLK, VA (WTKR)- Old Dominion announced on Friday that it will leave Conference USA this June 30, one year ahead of schedule. The league is demanding that the Monarchs and others reconsider.

Conference USA released a statement on Tuesday in conjunction with the release of its football schedule, stating its intent to move forward with the 2022-2023 school year with the full 14 school membership intact. The league says it will "exhaust all necessary legal actions to ensure all members meet their contractual obligations as defined by and agreed to in the Conference USA bylaws."

Old Dominion, Marshall and Southern Mississippi all released similar statements on Friday afternoon, declaring their intentions to leave the conference this summer. All three institutions expressed that they had notified the league of their intentions "clearly and consistently" since December.

ODU is standing by its statement from Friday, despite Conference USA's public threat of legal action.

The football schedule released by Conference USA on Tuesday included all three programs that have said they will depart. The slate has the Monarchs opening C-USA play on October 8 at home against Middle Tennessee, with other home games against UTEP, Marshall and Florida International. League trips on the schedule include Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, Western Kentucky and Louisiana Tech.

Whether this schedule is actually played in the fall remains to be seen, but it seems unlikely. Old Dominion's statement on Friday did not include any mention of beginning Sun Belt play this fall, but that would be the common sense next step if the Monarchs' split from Conference USA this June is successful.

ODU is set to begin its football schedule on September 3 at home against Virginia Tech, a game that will kickoff as the season opener regardless of the conference in which the Monarchs are playing.