Old Dominion will join the Sun Belt Conference no later than July 1, 2023, the conference announced Wednesday, which will increase its membership to 14 schools.
The Sun Belt presidents and chancellors voted unanimously to add ODU to the league, which includes current members Appalachian State, Little Rock, Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Louisiana, ULM, South Alabama, UTA, Texas State and Troy -- and incoming member Southern Miss, which will also join no later than July 1, 2023.
"We are thrilled to welcome Old Dominion University to the Sun Belt," commissioner Keith Gill said in a statement. "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.
"I am grateful to President Dr. Brian Hemphill and Athletics Director Dr. Camden Wood Selig for their leadership during this process," Gill said. "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." ODU was a member of the Sun Belt Conference from 1982-1991 and has a combined 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.
Said Wood Selig in a statement: "On behalf of our student-athletes, coaches and athletic administration, I want to express our gratitude to Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Keith Gill and the entire league leadership for this wonderful opportunity to join the Sun Belt Conference with all of its current momentum and potential. While C-USA has proven to be an excellent home for ODU athletics during our transition from FCS to FBS, and we thank the C-USA membership and leadership for such an outstanding partnership, the chance to enhance the overall athletics experience for the student-athletes, fans and alumni of ODU in the SBC with regional rivalries represents the perfect opportunity for the continued growth and evolution of ODU athletic programs in our pursuit of national prominence."