When the Executive Committee of Old Dominion's Board of Visitors meets May 14, members are expected to receive information from president John Broderick and athletic director Wood Selig about the school's invitation from and potential move to Conference USA.
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 Colonial Athletic Association, the school's athletic home since 1991. All expressed confidence in Broderick's leadership and ability to provide them with requisite information to make an informed decision.
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, Texas. The league's footprint encompasses West Virginia and North Carolina in the east, south to Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana and extends west to Oklahoma and west Texas.
Though Conference USA would provide ODU a natural rival in East Carolina, the newly expanding league will have twice as many members in Texas (Rice, UTEP, UT San Antonio and North Texas) as in North Carolina (ECU and Charlotte).
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