Sun Belt expansion: Southern Miss, Old Dominion join conference with Marshall, FCS power expected to follow

The most recent domino within the realignment bonanza has fallen, and the way forward for Convention USA is severely doubtful. Outdated Dominion introduced Wednesday that it has accepted an invite to affix the Solar Belt Convention with the transfer coming no later than July 1, 2023. The Monarchs be a part of Southern Miss, which introduced its transfer to the Solar Belt on Tuesday.  

“Whereas C-USA has confirmed to be a superb dwelling for ODU Athletics throughout our transition from FCS to FBS, and we thank the C-USA membership and management for such an impressive partnership, the possibility to boost the general athletic expertise for the student-athletes, followers and alumni of ODU within the SBC with regional rivalries represents the right alternative for the continued progress and evolution of ODU athletic packages in our pursuit of nationwide prominence,” Outdated Dominion athletic director Wooden Selig stated in an announcement. 

Outdated Dominion joined Convention USA because it transitioned to the FBS stage through the 2014 soccer season. This system performed soccer for a short interval within the Nineteen Thirties, however finally folded earlier than restarting a soccer workforce on the FCS stage in 2009. Bobby Wilder led this system from inception till 2019, posting a 77-56 file between FCS and FBS, together with a 10-win season in 2016. 

This system has struggled for the reason that breakout season, nonetheless, posting an 11-32 file since 2017. Former Penn State offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne took over this system in 2020, however ODU opted to not play soccer through the pandemic season. A transfer to the Solar Belt — together with the potential rise of James Madison from the FCS ranks — offers the Monarchs considerably extra regional companions within the Carolinas and Georgia. 

“We’re thrilled to welcome Outdated Dominion College to the Solar Belt. ODU brings a number of strengths to our convention. They’re aggressive throughout all of their sports activities, have a robust model and are supported by an awesome fan base,” Solar Belt commissioner Keith Gill stated in an announcement. 

The addition may not be the ultimate transfer in Solar Belt realignment. CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd reported final week that, along with Southern Miss and Outdated Dominion, the Solar Belt may additionally look so as to add Marshall from Convention USA, together with probably including FCS energy James Madison as a transitional member. Including JMU, one other Virginia faculty, can be immensely engaging to ODU. 

Southern Miss introduced it will be a part of the Solar Belt Convention on Tuesday, setting off a second wave of exits from Convention USA. The Golden Eagles’ transfer will even come no later than July 1, 2023. 

“Immediately is a good day for Southern Miss. I wish to thank Commissioner [Keith] Gill and the Board of Administrators throughout the Solar Belt for his or her religion in our establishment and our capacity so as to add worth to the convention,” stated Southern Mississippi athletic director Jeremy McClain. “We’re enthusiastic about including our wealthy custom of success and passionate fan base to a convention that values these attributes, and sit up for working collectively to proceed to raise the Solar Belt on the nationwide stage.” 

Southern Miss has been a member of Convention USA for the reason that creation of the league in 1995. The Eagles have been as soon as a nationally-relevant energy below head coach Jeff Bower, posting a 21-2 file in convention play from 1996 to 1999. This system has 5 Convention USA soccer championships below its belt, with the final one coming in 2011. 

It’s fascinating that the Solar Belt selected so as to add although it hasn’t been poached by different convention within the newest realignment wave. This spherical of realignment began in July when the SEC introduced that it’s including Texas and Oklahoma out of the Huge 12. The Huge 12 responded by poaching UCFCincinnati and Houston out of the AAC, in addition to unbiased BYU. The AAC then added six packages out of Convention USA — CharlotteFlorida AtlanticNorth TexasRiceUAB and UTSA

The transfer begins to depart the way forward for Convention USA doubtful. Dodd reported that Convention USA could possibly be wanting towards FBS independents like Liberty, UConn and UMass, or FCS packages which may be seeking to soar to the FBS stage. 

“To say that [Conference USA] is just not wounded can be to disclaim [reality],” a supply near the discussions instructed Dodd. | Solar Belt enlargement: Southern Miss, Outdated Dominion be a part of convention with Marshall, FCS energy anticipated to observe


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