Report: Conference USA to lose six members

ODU not among teams heading to AAC
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Posted at 11:14 PM, Oct 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-18 23:14:36-04

IRVING, TX (WTKR)- Six Conference USA schools will apply for membership with the American Athletic Conference and be accepted into the league, Yahoo Sports reported on Monday night.

Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Texas-San Antonio, Rice and UAB will all seek entrance into the AAC. The move will increase that league's membership to 14 programs in both football and basketball and leave Conference USA with eight member institutions, including Old Dominion. The American is set to lose three schools to the Big 12 this fall, Cincinnati, Houston and Central Florida, and Connecticut departed the league in 2019 for the Big East.

The report comes a week after Conference USA was hoping to convince the American and Sun Belt to consider a regional realignment plan. With the large footprints currently occupied by the three leagues, C-USA was pitching a plan that would see the three conferences work together in order to regionalize.

Old Dominion director of athletics Wood Selig was very much in favor of a regional realignment model.

"So many people are afraid to hit the pause button because we're all on that hamster wheel running so fast and afraid of what's going to happen if we don't respond or react quickly," he said last week. "The real challenge is going to [be getting] enough people, presidents, athletic directors, commissioners, to say 'let's pause, let's let this concept play out a little bit on paper and see if it doesn't make sense.'"

Saving on travel costs, less missed class time for student-athletes, creating more regional rivalries and getting more fans in the stands are all reasons the ODU athletic director pointed to as pros for the new proposal.

The report indicates that the six schools entering the AAC will see a significant boost in television money. They'll also give the league exposure into some additional larger television markets, including Charlotte, Dallas and Houston.

The Monarchs are not commenting on Monday's report at this time.

Yahoo is also noting that each school's exit fee for departing Conference USA would be roughly $3 million apiece, giving the league a good base with which to rebuild.

WTKR reached out to Conference USA for comment and has yet to receive a response.