NORFOLK, VA (WTKR)- One of Old Dominion's top in-state rivals will not be on the men's basketball schedule for the foreseeable future.
VCU has decided not to renew its series with the Monarchs, as that annual showdown will be discontinued beginning this coming season, an Old Dominion spokesperson confirmed to News 3 on Monday.
Rams' director of athletics Ed McLaughlin told the Richmond Times Dispatch that the athletic department made the decision "after much thought and serious consideration."
Old Dominion does not have a comment on the VCU decision at this time.
The series began during the 1968-1969 season and the two programs have played every year since 1977. The Monarchs and VCU were conference rivals while members of the Sun Belt and the CAA and they continued to face off as non-conference opponents after the Rams departed the Colonial for the Atlantic 10 in 2012. Old Dominion joined Conference USA the following year.
The current version of the Sun Belt Conference, which the Monarchs will officially join in a matter of weeks, has strength on the football and baseball fields, but the league's basketball product has room for improvement. The conference only put one team in the NCAA Tournament in 2022, league champion Georgia State, a No. 16 seed which fell to top seeded Gonzaga in the opening round.
ODU is 44-53 against VCU all-time and has lost ten of the last 12 games in the series. This past season, the Rams downed the Monarchs, 75-66, at Chartway Arena. Old Dominion would end the season 13-19 after falling in the second round of the Conference USA Tournament.