Old Dominion president John Broderick and athletic director Wood Selig are in suburban Dallas, Texas this week for two days of Conference USA meetings.
The meetings began Wednesday at 3 p.m. in Irving, Texas and were to carry on through dinner. They were to continue on Thursday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.
All 16 C-USA presidents and athletic directors are scheduled to attend.
Selig said it’s doubtful any big news will come out of the meetings.
“I’m sure we’ll be discussing long-term plans for the conference,” Selig said. “We will review the conference strategic plan, sportsmanship, the conference tournament in basketball and many other things,” he said.
“This is more about trying to get everyone together to talk about the 2013-2014 season.”
Conference expansion is not on the agenda, he said. “If it’s discussed at all, it will be discussed in the hallways,” he said.
When the presidents last met with C-USA commissioner Britt Banowsky in June, they told him after two years of hectic conference realignment that they had no desire to expand.
The media has speculated that James Madison, Georgia State, Arkansas State and Louisiana-Lafayette are the most likely expansion candidates when it occurs. Banowsky visited JMU last spring for two days.
Liberty University, which has applied to the Sun Belt Conference, has had discussions with C-USA, officials said, but they have only been informal. Liberty is attempting to move from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision, but needs a conference home in order to do so.
Banowsky said in July at C-USA football media day that the conference will soon seek bids for the 2015 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. The 2014 tournaments will be in El Paso, Texas.
Banowsky said he eventually wants the tournament to move to Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.
“That’s a great venue,” he told the Nashville Tennessean. “It’s central” to conference members Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee State, Marshall and UNC Charlotte.
“It really seems like a good spot.”
However, the SEC will hold its tournament there in 2015 and 2016. So unless C-USA moved its tournament back a week, the earliest it could move to Nashville would be 2017.
SELIG ON ECU TICKET SALES
Now that the word is out that Old Dominion’s ticket sales for its football opener at East Carolina on Aug. 31 are lagging, Selig is hoping that sales will pick up.
ODU has about 1,200 tickets left to sell of the 4,500 allotted to the Monarchs.
The Monarchs pocket all of the money from the ticket sales, so this is more important to ODU than selling tickets for games later this season at Maryland, Pittsburgh and North Carolina, where the home teams collect all revenues. It's also important for ODU's reputation that the Monarchs sell out tickets for a game in Greenville, N.C., just 2 1/2 hours from Norfolk.
Selig acknowledges that television will present ODU with a challenge in future years that it hasn’t previously faced. While a handful of big road games have been televised in the past, most will be televised when ODU enters FBS next season. Typically, C-USA members have between 8 and 10 of their 12 games on television this season.
ODU officials said they have heard from fans that many plan to stay home and watch the ODU-ECU game on TV.
“I certainly understand that TV will be a bigger competitor than we’ve ever faced before when it comes to attendance,” he said. “We just need to embrace that and hope that our fans will value the in game in person experience more than the flat screen living room experience.”
Cox cable is carrying the ODU-ECU game, but isn't sure yet on which channel the game will be broadcast. It is being televised by Fox College Sports Atlantic, a regional network not carried by Cox. However, Cox officials received permission to carry this game.
A link to my story about ticket sales for the ECU game:
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