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ADs recommend allowing ODU to play for CAA football title
Old Dominion University’s football team will play on national TV twice this season and Colonial Athletic Association athletic directors have agreed that the Monarchs should be allowed to play for the league’s regular-season football championship.
The CAA’s university presidents will vote on the the athletic directors’ recommendation when they meet Tuesday in Washington.
ODU’s eligibility for a league title came into question after the school announced it was moving its athletic programs to Conference USA in the summer of 2013. ODU’s football program is expected to begin transitioning from the Football Championship Subdivision to the Football Bowl Subdivision after the upcoming season.
While the chance of ODU’s other teams being ruled eligible to play for CAA titles remains bleak, the Monarchs garnered unanimous approval from the league’s athletic directors to play for the football title because CAA football operates under a different set of bylaws.
Football has been a CAA sport for just five years and football’s bylaws were handed down from when football previously fell under the umbrella of the Atlantic-10 Conference.
“I am grateful that the ADs reviewed the information carefully,” ODU football coach Bobby Wilder said. “It is clear cut that we followed all the guidelines in the football bylaws to remain eligible. Although there was strong sentiment among the coaches that we should not be allowed to play for the title, the league’s ADs and commissioner Tom Yeager followed the bylaws as they are written.”
The primary guidelines involved the fact that ODU has yet to file paperwork with the NCAA to move up and that the program will remain at or below the 63-scholarship threshold set for FCS football for the 2012 season. FBS football allows for 85 scholarships.
Rhode Island, which is also leaving the CAA after this season, also received a positive nod from the league’s athletic directors to play for the CAA title. Rhode Island will be moving to the Northeast Conference. Georgia State, which has already begun its transition to the FBS as it moves to the Sun Belt Conference, will not be eligible for the league’s football title.
Meanwhile, the Monarchs have learned that their home game against Delaware at noon on Oct. 27 will be nationally televised on the NBCSports Network. The Monarchs’ regular-season finale at James Madison will also be televised on the NBCSports Network. The league will have five of its games nationally televised this season.
Two other home games – Sept. 22 vs. New Hampshire and Nov. 10 vs. William and Mary – can be seen regionally on Comcast. “We’ve already sent this information out to recruits,” Wilder said. “This will be so big for our recruiting efforts.”
Note: Wilder said that linebacker Ervin Johnson and defensive end Sahsaan Moore have left the program for personal reasons. Moore transferred to ODU in January from the University of Maryland and Johnson transferred from Dean Junior College, also in January. Wilder said both were in good academic standing.
By Rich Radford, The Virginian-Pilot