UD athletic Conference USA

UD will pay $6 million to jump to Conference USA in 2025

Nick AlessandriniHeadlines, Sports

UD athletic Conference USA

The University of Delaware athletics teams will become Conference USA’s 11th member in 2025.


The University of Delaware will jump to Division 1 play in 2025 when it ditches its current conference to join Conference USA.

The Blue Hens will become the 11th full-time member of the conference, following Georgia’s Kennesaw State as No. 10 when it joins at the beginning of the 2024 season.
The University of Delaware will also become the first FCS program to pay the new $5 million reclassification fee inserted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association this year. The fee was $5,000 in previous years but was raised in 2023, which many believe is designed to “prevent teams from making the jump.”
Delaware also will have to pay the $1 million exit fee for the Coastal Athletic Association.
In doing so, though, the Blue Hens football will transition to the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, the sport’s highest level of competition in the NCAA.
Blue Hens University of Delaware stadium Conference USA

The University of Delaware has been adding to its athletics facilities on campus in anticipation of growth.

Conference USA teams

Conference USA’s other members consist of Sam Houston State, University of Texas El Paso, New Mexico State, Louisiana Tech, Jacksonville State in Alabama, Florida International, Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky, and Liberty in Virginia.
The Blue Hens’ will play the conference in baseball, softball, men and women’s Basketball, men and women’s golf, women’s soccer, men and women’s tennis, women’s cross-country, women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, and volleyball.
The other seven teams are unsure of their placement within the conference.
“We are thrilled to be joining Conference USA and stepping up to the highest level of Division I football competition, which will elevate the reputation and visibility of our entire Blue Hen Athletics program and galvanize our loyal alumni and fans,” UD President Dennis Assanis said.

All UD varsity programs will remain in the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) through their 2024-25 seasons, with all sports except football next season maintaining eligibility to compete for conference championships and NCAA postseason play.

The Blue Hens, who played their first football games in 1889, have won six national championships.

The program ranks seventh in wins among current Football Championship Subdivision programs and 34th among all Division I programs.

“The opportunity to join Conference USA is a very proud moment for our entire University,” said Chrissi Rawak, director of athletics, community and campus recreation. “With this step forward, we will continue to offer an incredible student-athlete experience and elevate the visibility of all that is remarkable about UD. We couldn’t be more excited for the entire state of Delaware.”

 Notable former UD football student-athletes include Super Bowl champions Joe Flacco, Gino Gradkowski and Troy Reeder; former NFL MVP Rich Gannon; and two-time Pro Bowl defensive back Mike Adams.

“I am confident that UD, along with our current members, will strengthen the quality of play and academic profile of Conference USA as we look toward our next chapter,” said Conference USA Commissioner Judy MacLeod.

UD’s recent upgrades to its athletics facilities in anticipation of growth are comparable with current FBS programs, the school said in a press release.

In 2021, UD opened the 90,000-square-foot Whitney Athletic Center that houses athletic training, hydrotherapy, performance nutrition, sport psychology, sports medicine, strength and conditioning,.

It includes a space for study, academic advising and career readiness.

A year earlier, in 2020, UD completed a renovation of Delaware Stadium that included upgraded seating and new club spaces for fans and a new press box.


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