Good morning, and thanks for your continued support of Extra Points.
Earlier this month, Old Dominion athletic director Wood Selig sat down to chat with reporters at the Daily News-Record about potential realignment in Conference USA. From that article:
If Selig has his way, leaders from schools in the Sun Belt, Conference USA and American Athletic Conference will meet with an outside consultant and hammer out a restructuring that realigns the three leagues by region. That’s a scenario James Madison officials would no doubt applaud, as the out-of-whack geography of the FBS conferences has played a role in the Dukes previous decisions to remain FCS.
“You have to ask yourself why do three Group of 5 conferences have three almost identical footprints,” Selig said in an interview with the Daily News-Record. “You don’t see that among the Power 5.”
Redrawing the membership lines around Conference USA and the Sun Belt is a college football reporter staple. When I worked at SB Nation, I think I wrote a story advocating for some sort of merger at least twice, as have plenty of other reporters working in southern G5 markets.
Since I launched Extra Points, I've been repeatedly told that such a merger was highly unlikely to happen. Individual athletic directors or school leaders might have been interested, particularly among C-USA schools, but there were too many egos, too many provincial disputes, and too many hurt feelings to effectively broker a total merger.
But that was before Texas and Oklahoma agreed to leave for the SEC, before the Big 12 added three schools from the American Athletic Conference, and before the AAC, presumably, would want to recruit teams from either G5 conference to backfill its own membership.
I know of at least one college sports consultant who has sought to do essentially exactly what Selig suggested here. He's created a plan to realign both conferences, and he's shared it with multiple leaders at both leagues. And now he's shared it with me.