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C-USA Reaches Agreement With Three Departing Schools

Paul Steinbach
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Old Dominion, Marshall and Southern Miss have reportedly finalized a separation agreement from Conference USA.

ESPN's Pete Thamel was the first to report the agreement, according to Sports Illustrated.

The league put out a statement Tuesday announcing the agreement, which will let the schools leave for the Sun Belt ahead of the upcoming 2022 football season. ODU, Marshall and USM are currently on the Sun Belt’s 2022 football schedule.

Conference USA last month released a fall 2022 football schedule that included all three schools. However, per Thamel, the league is expected to release a new schedule soon and has petitioned the NCAA to play a pair of Week Zero games for health and safety reasons. Games in Week Zero spare teams from having to play too many consecutive games, a concern for C-USA now that it is an 11-league league, SI reported. 

ODU, Marshall and USM broke the C-USA’s bylaws by not giving the league 14 months’ notice before their departure. On Feb. 15, C-USA released a statement saying that it would pursue legal action after the three programs announced plans to leave the league. In response to the C-USA's legal action, Marshall filed a lawsuit in February to ensure its early exit from the conference.

Related: C-USA Eyes Legal Action as Three Members Plan to Leave

According to SI, terms of the separation have been agreed upon but are not expected to be made public. All three schools — which accepted invitations to join the Sun Belt in October — announced in February that they were ending their alliance with C-USA in June 2022 to move to the new conference.

Last fall, C-USA proposed that it, the Sun Belt and the American Athletic Conference realign regionally to address the redundancies of states containing schools from more than one conference and to reduce travel expenses.

Related: Conference USA Looks to Realign, Regionalize Three Leagues

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