C-USA adds Middle Tennessee State, Florida Atlantic

After yet another day of realignment roulette, the Conference USA that Old Dominion signed up with looks even less like the one the Monarchs will get when they begin playing in football's highest division in 2014.

Moving quickly to replace East Carolina and Tulane, which were poached by the Big East on Tuesday, C-USA reached down the conference food chain and grabbed Middle Tennessee State and Florida Atlantic from the Sun Belt.

Formal announcements from the schools and the conference are expected today.

Sources who asked not to be identified informed The Virginian-Pilot of the addition of Middle Tennessee State on Wednesday morning. Florida Atlantic's move was reported by numerous outlets in the afternoon.

"If those hold true, I think they are going to be great additions," ODU athletic director Wood Selig said. "I think they both represent outstanding choices that remain consistent with the philosophy of adding large metro universities in dynamic markets. Both have enjoyed success competitively in a variety of sports.

"You don't want to expand just to expand. You want to expand for a purpose."

With the additions, C-USA would stay at 14 members. It essentially trades the New Orleans and Greenville, N.C., television markets for greater Miami and greater Nashville.

From a football perspective, C-USA adds a program - Middle Tennessee - that is playing for the Sun Belt title Saturday, and in Florida Atlantic, it gets a 12-year-old program that became the youngest start-up to earn a bowl bid.

The conference is losing its attendance leader and ODU its closet geographic rival in East Carolina, which is 8-4 and draws 47,013 fans per game. The Pirates will make their fifth bowl appearance in seven seasons.

Tulane has had 10 consecutive losing seasons and has not played in a bowl since 2002.

Middle Tennessee, located in Murfreesboro, was the last team out when ODU agreed to join C-USA in May, completing an addition of six schools. The Blue Raiders have been in the Sun Belt since 2001 and have won the conference's all-sports trophy eight times. They average 17,739 fans in a 30,000-seat, on-campus stadium.

Florida Atlantic, in Boca Raton, began playing football in 2001 and moved to the Football Championship Subdivision in 2005. It began playing in a new 30,000-seat stadium this season, where attendance averages 13,943. Since winning bowls in 2007 and 2008, the Owls are 13-34, including 3-8 this season.

ODU will join C-USA for most sports in 2013 and in football the following year. While acknowledging that losing ECU is a blow, Selig said the school would make the move again.

Speaking generally on the frenetic pace of realignment, Selig said the movement should come as no surprise.

"I think everybody has kind of a file folder of, 'OK, if we lose X, we add Y; if we lose Z, we add A,' " Selig said. "People have had enough warning in this day and age that things can shift quickly, and most have prepared themselves."

Harry Minium, 757-446-2371,harry.minium@pilotonline.com

Ed Miller, 757-446-2372, ed.miller@pilotonline.com

Posted to: College Football ODU Football Sports

COMMENTS ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here; comments do not reflect the views of The Virginian-Pilot or its websites. Users must follow agreed-upon rules: Be civil, be clean, be on topic; don't attack private individuals, other users or classes of people. Read the full rules here.
- Comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the report violation link below it.

Great to See a Strong School Like Middle Tennessee State

added to the C-USA mix. Nashville is only an hour flight from ORF. Florida Atlantic has campuses in Boca, Ft. Lauderdale, and Jupiter and would make a good opponent with another new C-USA member, Flordia International in Miami.
Hate to see East Carolina go but we hardly knew you!
Those leaving for the big payday in the formerly "Big" East will be disappointed when ESPN lowers its contract offer since the BE will no longer be an auto BCS qualifer and on par with C-USA and a few other 1A leagues.

That's crazy

ODU has NOTHING in common with Florida Atlantic, whatever that is, and Middle Tennessee State. Anyone here who went to ODU have them in their applications pile? What a disaster this CUSA thing will turn out to be.

Better to swallow their pride and stay in the CAA.

Garbage league

C-USA looks like a garbage league scraping the barrel for schools. If they think they can go to the networks claiming they have the Nashville market now and looking for big dollars, those TV execs will bust out laughing

its a Group of Five Conference

in FBS football starting in 2014. Same standing as the Big Least.

and in hoops? the top 68 get in anyway, incuding CUSA's auto bid.

Not every school has players that take pay cuts to go to the NFL you know.....

ECU to B.E.

ODU had to know that ECU was, and has been, looking to get into the (not so)Big East. A couple of years ago it would have been a good move but in today's market it's a lateral move, at best. Hopefully they aren't thinking that this move is a stepping stone to the ACC...because it "ain't" going to happen!! And why move to the Big East in football only? Are they telling the world that they can't compete with other BE schools in all other sports? That has to make ECU non-football athletes feel REAL good!!

No, the real garbage league

No, the real garbage league is the Big East. The only two schools left in it that are notable are Cinci and UConn, and both desperately want out. I think it is a lousy move for East Carolina, especially since it is only a football alignment. They may have gained some clout if it involved all sports. ODU will be fine hanging in C-USA.

Both Middle Tenn State and

Both Middle Tenn State and FAU have impressive Stadiums with large expansion capabilities, not to mention experience playing some top FBS opponents this season. It's going to be very interesting to see what ODU does with its stadium issue. Too bad no local rivals got added for ODU.

Wilder on way out....

the rumor mill has ODU coach Wilder accepting the boston college job

Smart Move

Get out while you're on top.


Did you hear the rumor or just trying to start one? Haven't heard a thing. Is the BC job even open?

The BC job is open. I've

The BC job is open. I've found a couple of places where Wilder's name has been bandied about as a candidate, but there are other candidates being mentioned as well.

Comment deleted

Comment removed for rules violation. Reason: Post continued, repeated

C-USA keeps getting weaker

C-USA keeps getting weaker and weaker. ODU should have stayed in the CAA. This will kill the Hoops team. Who cares about Middle Tenn. St. and FAU? ODU still has no plan to expand Foreman Field or the $$$ to expand.

Comment deleted

Comment removed for rules violation. Reason: Post continued, repeated

ODU should Fire AD Dr. Selig

ODU should Fire AD Dr. Selig for selling ODU boosters this load of dung called C-USA.

It's the Sun Belt all over again

Remember when the Monarchs went to the Sun Belt and attendance and rivalries plunged. They should have stayed in the CAA where they were competitive and could travel to rivals and fill the stadium. ODU won't never have the following UVa and VT have.

Oh Good

Two more schools in the same hemisphere.

Pay your dues

If anyone thought moving up to the FBS was going to be easy.......well your naive. It's going to be 5 years of paying our dues and developing a national reputation. That was not happening in the CAA. Look at history and recall what VT went through for many years before being a national player.

Where you been, Naysayers?

While Conf-USA has taken a step back, our purpose for joining remains the same... it was the timely opportunity to make the FBS jump. We use the conf to continue to build the program, and we then re-evaluate future opportunites down the road. Plain & simple.

I guess all these Debby-Downers have been saving up for a while since they haven't had any anti-ODU fooball spewage to vent for a while. We have proven all these naysayers wrong in the past, and now they think hey have new negative fodder to pontificate over. Have at it boys; ODU will just keep moving forward with their success, and in another couple years you haters will be trying to find new garbage to spew. You're desperation to speculate negativity is quite entertaining.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Please note: Threaded comments work best if you view the oldest comments first.

Daily Deal |  | Promote your business