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Old Dominion Won't Play Football Again until Fall 2021

Paul Steinbach

Old Dominion University became the third FBS program in the nation — and the only member of a football conference — to opt out of the 2020-21 academic year entirely when it announced Friday that it won't play football gain until next fall.

The Monarchs are Conference USA’s lone team opting out of the 2020 football season in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the Mid-American Conference’s announcement Friday that it will play a fall schedule, ODU joins football independents Connecticut and New Mexico State as the only schools to choose the sidelines this season.

As reported by The Virginian-Pilot, ODU athletic director Wood Selig, who last week stood by the school’s August decision to postpone after other FBS conferences changed course and decided to play football this fall, declined to comment through a school spokesman.

ODU’s football team has been holding twice-weekly drills and lifting weights three days a week. Selig said recently that the school stands to lose about $2 million to $3 million without football this year.

Other fall sports at ODU will be played in the spring. All of the school’s athletes have practiced social distancing, worn masks and washed their hands frequently.

“One of my biggest challenges professionally has been to try and support our coaches and our student-athletes and give them hope and encouragement,” Selig said last week. “You think about the coaches and athletes and how they’re wired: For many of them, they’ve never had anything close to resembling the length of the pause that they’ve had to endure.”

“We remain committed to this decision with the health and safety of the student-athletes, their families, coaches, our fans and the community as the priority,” the school said in a statement. “We look forward to resuming ODU football in the fall of 2021.”

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