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A New Era in ODU Athletics

Dear Monarch Nation:

Over the course of the past week, there has been much discussion and speculation regarding the current state and future direction of ODU Athletics. As I shared last Tuesday, University officials have been working closely with Conference USA (C-USA) to attract regional competitors to offset the recent exit of six member institutions. With our active participation in this important work, we continued to explore all opportunities available to our institution, especially our student-athletes.

During our time in C-USA, we have witnessed the expansion of our programs, specifically their local impact and national reach, and the personal growth of our student-athletes. We have also developed meaningful connections and lasting relationships within C-USA, specifically among our member institutions. We will forever be indebted to our C-USA colleagues and friends.

As it has always been our ultimate goal to find the very best competitive environment in which ODU can thrive and succeed, a final decision has been made to join the Sun Belt Conference. That decision, which followed much reflection and research, will be made public this afternoon with an on-campus event to be held tomorrow morning to celebrate our forthcoming membership, which will be effective no later than 2023.

As we begin a new era in ODU Athletics, I would like to thank the many individuals, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and supporters, who shared their thoughts about this important issue as our University deeply values the perspectives of all Monarchs. Moving forward, we pledge a smooth transition for our student-athletes and coaching staff. We also pledge continued excellence in the classroom and in competition as we build upon our proud championship tradition.

With the Sun Belt's ESPN partnership, Monarch fans will have additional access to cheer for our beloved ODU teams when they cannot attend in-person. And, with the Sun Belt's East and West divisions, we look forward to seeing more fans travel to our regional games and matches.

Joining the Sun Belt Conference is a game-changer for ODU Athletics, and we are excited about the expanded opportunities and limitless possibilities now and well into the future. GO MONARCHS!

With Monarch Pride,

Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D.

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