Marshall Athletics to leave Conference USA this summer – Huntington Herald Dispatch

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Updated: February 12, 2022 @ 3:49 am
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HUNTINGTON — Marshall University is officially in its final months as a member of Conference USA.
After 17 years, Marshall will leave the conference June 30, the school’s athletic department said Friday afternoon in a news release.
“The Thundering Herd will not participate in Conference USA during the 2022-23 season,” the release said. “This decision comes after consideration of the best interests of Marshall’s student-athletes and its loyal fans.”
Old Dominion and Southern Miss similarly announced plans Friday to leave Conference USA on June 30. None of the three universities mentioned the Sun Belt Conference, where each is bound.
The schools notified Conference USA in December of their plans to join the Sun Belt in time for the 2022-23 academic year. Old Dominion said Friday that Conference USA has refused to negotiate exit terms with the three schools.
“The university offered to cooperate with the conference to ensure that all remaining C-USA members had complete competitive schedules for those sports in which the university competes,” Old Dominion’s statement said. “The conference refuses to discuss such an arrangement with the university.”
In a Jan. 20 statement, Conference USA described the schools as “prematurely departing.”
“We fully expect everyone to follow our bylaws and honor their contractual obligations through the 2022-23 academic year,” the statement said. “All (14) members will continue to be eligible for conference championships and the postseason opportunities Conference USA provides.”
Stalled negotiations between Conference USA and the exiting schools have left planning in limbo.
“Our student-athletes, coaches, staff, fan base and the remaining members of Conference USA are deserving of clarity in this matter, thus the need for today’s message,” Marshall’s statement read.
The Sun Belt Conference typically releases its football schedule March 1. The conference announced Feb. 2 that James Madison, which is transitioning from the Colonial Athletic Association, would join the Sun Belt on July 1.
The tenuous situation with Conference USA adds to an unsettled time for Marshall University, which concluded interviews for its open athletic director position Friday. Four finalists were interviewed: Marshall interim athletic director Jeff O’Malley, Pitt deputy athletic director Christian Spears, Syracuse deputy director of athletics Andrew Goodrich and Washington State deputy director of athletics Chris Park.
A decision is expected in the next week to 10 days.
The closing of Marshall’s statement Friday summed up the moment.
“We are grateful for our 17 years of Conference USA membership, an era that will always be an important part of Thundering Herd history,” the statement read. “Now, it is time to turn the page to Marshall’s future.”
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