Sun Belt Conference Adds Old Dominion to League Membership

Published 1:45 pm Wednesday, October 27, 2021

NEW ORLEANS – The Sun Belt Conference announced Wednesday the addition of Old Dominion University into the league after a unanimous vote of the Sun Belt CEOs. ODU will join the Sun Belt Conference no later than July 1, 2023.

A press conference is set for tomorrow, Thursday, October 28, in Norfolk, Va., at 8 a.m. CT/9 a.m. ET and will include ODU President Dr. Brian Hemphill, ODU Director of Athletics Dr. Camden Wood Selig and Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Keith Gill.

“We are thrilled to welcome Old Dominion University to the Sun Belt. ODU brings a host of strengths to our conference. They have comprehensive success. They’ve collected many championships. They will have natural rivals in our footprint,” said Keith Gill, Sun Belt Conference Commissioner. “I am grateful to President Dr. Brian Hemphill and Athletics Director Dr. Camden Wood Selig for their leadership during this process. I’d also like to thank the CEOs and athletic directors of our current member institutions for their efforts as we continue our discussions around adding new members.”

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The addition of Old Dominion brings the number of Sun Belt members to 14, with the Monarchs joining current members—App State, Little Rock, Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Louisiana, ULM, South Alabama, UTA, Texas State and Troy—and Southern Miss, which was welcomed to the Sun Belt Conference on Tuesday.  

 “The evolution of the Sun Belt Conference over the past decade has been inspiring.  The SBC has gone from the bottom to the top of the Group of 5. The strategic addition of Old Dominion will contribute to the continued growth and success of the Sun Belt.” It’s a pleasure to join my colleagues in welcoming Old Dominion to our Conference,” Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., Troy Chancellor, said. “Old Dominion enjoys an outstanding reputation and will enhance competition in the SBC. This is a great day for our league.”

Old Dominion University, founded in 1930 and located in Norfolk, Va., supports a student population of over 24,000. Athletically, the program claims 28 team national championships—15 in sailing, nine in field hockey, three in women’s basketball and one in men’s basketball—and four individual crowns—three in wrestling and one in tennis. The football program won its lone bowl appearance, 24-20 over Eastern Michigan, in the 2016 Bahamas Bowl. 

 “The addition of Old Dominion represents yet another exciting development for the Sun Belt Conference,” Troy Director of Athletics Brent Jones said. “The trajectory and growth of Old Dominion’s athletic programs match our expectations in the SBC as this strategic move further strengthens our conference. ODU is an outstanding institution with a pedigree for success in multiple sports. Troy welcomes Old Dominion with open arms and our fans look forward to doing the same both at home and on the road.”

The Monarchs sponsor 18 varsity sports. Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, football, golf, soccer, sailing, swimming and tennis. Women’s sports include basketball, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, sailing, swimming, tennis and volleyball.

ODU was a member of the Sun Belt Conference from 1982-1991 and enjoyed success in a wide range of sports. The men’s basketball team won Sun Belt regular-season titles in 1983 and 1986 and went to the NCAA Tournament three times and the NIT three times while they were members of the Sun Belt Conference. The ODU women’s basketball squad won five Sun Belt titles and went to eight NCAA Tournaments. The 1984-85 team, coached by Marianne Stanley, won the NCAA Tournament, the last of ODU’s three national titles. The ODU’s men’s soccer team won the 1985, 1987 and 1989 Sun Belt championships. The ODU baseball team went to the NCAA Tournament twice in the Sun Belt Conference and coach Mark Newman’s 1985 team finished 50-11 and won the Sun Belt title.