When the Executive Committee of
Several board members said earlier this week that they knew little more about ODU's discussions and exploration of Conference USA than what they had read and heard in local media reports.
When news broke Tuesday prematurely linking ODU to C-USA, Broderick sent an email to board members assuring them that he and his colleagues were studying all areas of conference affiliation to best position the athletic department for future success.
Board members were inclined to wait until they were briefed before they offered opinions about jumping to another conference or remaining in the
One board member emphasized that, no matter the recommendation from Broderick or athletic department officials, it wasn't likely to simply "rubber stamp" the call without serious deliberation.
"That's never been the way we operate," the board member said.
Contained within the information board members are likely to receive is the fact that Conference USA presently stretches 1,700 miles — from Greenville, N.C., to El Paso,
Though Conference USA would provide ODU a natural rival in
Most notably, a move to C-USA would raise the ante significantly for Old Dominion's football program and affirms that football is the engine driving the athletic department train. ODU's program, entering its fourth year, competes at the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) level. C-USA schools play one step up, at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level.
Here are the football expenses at ODU and the present remaining eight C-USA schools, courtesy of theU.S. Dept. of Education's Equity in Athletics Data Analysis data base. The figures are from 2010-11, the most recent full year. Numbers are rounded up.
School*FB operating exp*FB total exp
ECU*$2.9 million*$8.6 million
Tulsa*$2.1 million*$9.7 million
Rice*$1.1 million*$12.3 million
Marshall*$1.3 million*$6.3 million
UTEP*$2 million*$8 million
Additional expenses for ODU football include travel — with
A step up to FBS also affects the school's Title IX profile. According to the Department of Education's website, ODU's undergraduate student ratio is 48 percent men to 52 percent women. Its athletic participation ratio is 52 percent men to 48 percent women, not a great disparity. Men receive 59 percent of the school's athletic aid, compared to 41 percent for women.
However, an extra 22 scholarship male athletes, as well as walk-ons, and another $400,000-$500,000 in annual scholarship costs further skew those percentages. That could force the athletic department to consider adding a women's sport, with the accompanying costs, in order to balance those ratios.
Conference USA is losing four members to the
C-USA is adding five schools: Charlotte of the
C-USA wants a 14-team league, with two seven-team divisions for football. Old Dominion is its preferred target, according to sources. C-USA officials have toured the campus and facilities.
The league hoped to announce the six new members Friday, but sources said it granted ODU an extension in order to inform leadership and to further evaluate the potential move. The length of the extension hasn’t been made public, but ODU must declare to the
Old Dominion's conference explorations were accelerated by uncertainty surrounding the CAA, specifically rivals and fellow conference basketball powers
VCU and George Mason appear to have put any plans of changing conferences on hold, at least temporarily, though the A-10 announced this week that it would add Butler.