Marshall Announces Plans to Leave C-USA, Conference Insists Herd Stays

Tyler Kennett and Justin Zimmer

Marshall University announced Friday that the athletics program will plan to depart from Conference USA a year earlier than expected, joining the Sun Belt Conference effective July 1, 2022.

Marshall University Athletics released the following statement: “Marshall University has communicated to Conference USA that it will cease participation in the conference effective June 30, 2022. The Thundering Herd will not participate in Conference USA during the 2022- 23 season.

This decision comes after consideration of the best interests of Marshall’s student-athletes and its loyal fans. Marshall first advised the conference in early December 2021 of its desire to not participate in the conference after this current academic year. Since then, the University continued to communicate its intentions to Conference USA and has offered to find an amicable resolution to this matter. The Conference refuses to discuss a resolution with the University. Our student-athletes, coaches, staff, fan base and the remaining members of Conference USA are deserving of clarity in this matter, thus the need for today’s message.

We are grateful for our 17 years of Conference USA membership, an era that will always be an important part of Thundering Herd history. It is now time to turn the page on Marshall’s future.”

The exit fee for Conference USA is $3 Million. Keith Gill, Commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference, announced back in November that the Sun Belt entrance fee has been waived for Marshall University.

In response, Conference USA issued a statement on Tuesday announcing that it will “exhaust all necessary legal actions to ensure all members meet their contractual obligations.”

At the present moment, Marshall has not issued a response. C-USA has disabled Twitter replies under the announcement.

In conjunction with the statement, C-USA has published its 2022 football schedule.

For UAB, the Blazers currently have Marshall and Southern Miss, two teams planning to leave the conference, on their active schedule.

In a statement made by Southern Miss, another C-USA school that plans to leave for the Sun Belt, the Golden Eagles representatives said:

“The University first advised C-USA in early December 2021.”

This timeline aligns with Marshall, showcasing that both programs showcased intent to leave prior to the 2022 calendar year.

Southern Miss also stated that Conference USA has “so far refused to discuss any such arrangement” regarding an arrangement for other C-USA schools to compete with Southern Miss if it were to join the Sun Belt in 2022.

Despite the statement from C-USA, Marshall plans to join, Old Dominion, Southern Miss and James Madison to join the Sun Belt a year earlier than expected in July 2022.