Conference USA released its “final” 2022 football schedule on Tuesday afternoon, which in and of itself is noteworthy. The schedule is only part of the story, though. The schedule includes Marshall, Old Dominion and Southern Miss — all of which plan to leave the conference by June 30 and join the Sun Belt despite the conference bylaw that currently requires them to stay through the summer of 2023.
Conference USA released a statement alongside the schedule announcement addressing the messy situation.
“Conference USA intends to conduct the 2022-23 athletic year with the full 14 institution members intact,” the statement read. “The C-USA Board of Directors will exhaust all necessary legal actions to ensure all members meet their contractual obligations as defined by and agreed to in the Conference USA bylaws.”
Southern Miss, Marshall and Old Dominion revealed their intention to terminate their membership prior to next season last week.
“[Southern Miss] first advised Conference USA in early December 2021 of the University’s plans to terminate its membership in June 2022,” Southern Miss said in a statement. “Since then, the University has clearly and consistently repeated its intentions to the conference. The University has from the outset expressed its desire to work with Conference USA to achieve an amicable separation, including offering to cooperate to ensure that all remaining conference members had complete competitive schedules for those sports in which the University competes. Conference USA has so far refused to discuss any such arrangement with the University.”
Jeff O’Malley, Marshall’s interim athletic director, said that Conference USA’s release of the football schedule does not alter the Thundering Herd’s plan to leave Conference USA and play in the Sun Belt next fall.
The three announced their move to the Sun Belt last summer during the most recent round of realignment. C-USA will also lose Charlotte, FAU, North Texas, Rice, UAB and UTSA to the AAC prior to the 2023 season. In response, C-USA announced that Sam Houston, Jacksonville State, Liberty and New Mexico State will join the conference after the departure of the AAC-bound institutions.