NORFOLK, VA (WTKR)- Conference USA has reached an agreement with Old Dominion, Southern Mississippi and Marshall that will allow the three schools to exit the league at the end of the current academic year.
The three institutions and the conference released a joint statement on Tuesday evening:
"Conference USA, Marshall University, Old Dominion University, and the University of Southern Mississippi have reached a resolution that allows the schools to withdraw as members at the end of the academic year. Conference USA will move forward into the 2022-23 academic year with 11 members. The Universities will compete as members of the Sun Belt Conference."
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. An Old Dominion spokesperson told News 3 that the program will not be commenting further at this time. The Sun Belt has not yet replied to our request for comment.
It's been a bumpy road to this separation between the Monarchs and Conference USA. ODU publicly announced its plan to depart the league at the end of this June on February 11, though the conference had released a statement that it expected all members to remain through the end of the 2022-2023 school year, citing conference bylaws and contractual obligations. The league sought arbitration in the matter, though an injunction filed by Old Dominion was granted.
In the meantime, both the Conference USA and Sun Belt football schedules included the Monarchs.
Tuesday's announced resolution means that Old Dominion will officially become a Sun Belt Conference member on July 1 of this year, after accepting an invitation to join the league last October.
The Monarchs will join the Sun Belt in all sports the conference offers, including baseball, men's basketball, football, men's golf, men's tennis, women's basketball, women's golf, women's soccer, women's tennis and volleyball. ODU currently competes and plans to remain in the Big East for field hockey. The rowing and lacrosse programs are currently in the American Athletic Conference.
The Old Dominion football team will look forward to a fresh set of conference rivals this fall. The schedule includes a familiar foe from the Monarchs' CAA days, as fellow Sun Belt newcomer James Madison visits S.B. Ballard Stadium on November 12. Four teams from the commonwealth grace ODU's schedule in the Dukes, Virginia Tech, Virginia and Liberty. For a look at the Monarchs' full schedule, click here.
Old Dominion began competing in Conference USA in the fall of 2013 after making the jump to the FBS level in football. The program was previously a member of the CAA, joining that league after leaving the Sun Belt in 1991.