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Monday, February 26, 2024
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Conference Split Gets Messier With 2022 Football Schedule Release

  • The Sun Belt Conference released its 2022-23 football schedule and included Marshall, Old Dominion, and Southern Miss.
  • It’s the latest twist in a messy split between the schools and C-USA, which is fighting to keep them for another year.
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY /Design: Alex Brooks

On Tuesday, the Sun Belt Conference released its 2022-23 football schedule and included Marshall, Old Dominion, and Southern Miss.

Now, those three schools are listed on two different conferences’ schedules, including their current home of Conference USA.

It’s the latest twist in a messy split between the schools and C-USA, which is fighting to keep them for another year.

  • The schools announced on Feb. 11 they would leave C-USA on June 30 — despite bylaws stating they need to give 14 months notice before leaving, per court documents obtained by The Herald Dispatch.
  • In response, C-USA sent demands for arbitration to make the schools stay another year, an Old Dominion statement confirmed. 
  • Through lawsuits, two schools have obtained temporary restraining orders against arbitration. That gives them “an edge” from a geographic perspective and a negotiating window, sports attorney Dan Lust told Front Office Sports.

Fighting To Remain ‘Viable’ 

C-USA could have accepted a higher exit fee than the reported $3 million for an early departure before pursuing legal action. 

“I don’t think it’s about money,” Lust said. “It’s about making sure the conference is viable.” 

The conference is likely paying hefty attorneys fees to get schools to honor contracts that are already modest — 2019 media rights and sponsorship agreements only brought in about $6.4 million annually, tax filings show.

If C-USA loses the schools on June 30, its future could be uncertain. It will lose a total of nine members by 2023-24, with only four replacements.

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