/Southern Miss-CUSA divorce has entered the courts

Southern Miss-CUSA divorce has entered the courts

Conference USA published its ’22 football schedule last week, and listed Southern Miss as one of eight conference members. Here’s the deal: Will Hall (the Golden Eagles coach) expects to have “night and day” more talent next season than last year. However, he does not have the depth necessary to play 16 conference games in different leagues in different stadiums. There has to be something. It will. My guess is that Southern Miss will be playing its first Sun Belt game at Troy on October 8. Louisiana Tech, which is listed as Southern Miss’s opponent by the CUSA, will need to find another player or have an open date. All of this will ultimately be decided at the courts, where Southern Miss and Marshall, as well as Old Dominion, will likely have a strong home-court advantage. Old Dominion, which is located in Norfolk, Va. and Marshall, in Huntingdon W.V. are leaving CUSA to join the Sun Belt. CUSA will have to sue the schools in their respective states. Good luck. One lawyer said, “That would have been my worst nightmare as litigator.” As it turned out, all three schools have already received favorable temporary restraining order. Each school has a new court date in the coming days. USM’s next court date is March 7, Forrest County Circuit Court, if there aren’t any delays. Bob Gholson (general counsel for Southern Miss) said when asked about the matter: “I cannot comment on an ongoing legal issue.” Jeremy McClain (athletic director of the school), says he cannot comment for the same reasons. Hall, the football coach said that he believed we would play in the Sun Belt the next season. You’ll see the reason by looking at the schedule. We now have the privilege of being a part one of the most prestigious, if certainly not the best, five conference groups in the country. We are eager to get started. We are playing in a league that includes a lot of teams from our area, so our fans can see the games.” Hall’s team will open its season with four non-conference competitors: Hugh Freeze and Liberty, both playing at Miami (Fla.), Northwestern (La.). State and Tulane. The league schedule also includes road games against Troy and Texas State as well as Coastal Carolina, Louisiana-Monroe, and Coastal Carolina. Arkansas State, Louisiana State, Georgia State and South Alabama will host conference home games. Southern Miss will only fly to one conference football game per year in the Sun Belt. It may be more often in alternate years. This will save you a lot over the more spread-out CUSA. These savings will be multiplied in other sports like softball, basketball, and spring sports. This is something I have advocated for for many years, as long-standing readers of this column will know. It makes perfect sense. Conference USA bylaws require that teams leaving the league give at least 14 months notice. Southern Miss, Marshall, and Old Dominion all informed the league office in November (in Marshall’s case), that they would be joining the Sun Belt on July 1. They knew that if they left early, they would lose their share of conference proceeds for the current schoolyear. Last year, the share was $1.5 million. USM will lose approximately $3 million because it left early. CUSA demands that the three schools who have left are compensated for any additional damages. These damages should be assessed and arbitrated in Dallas by the league office. The three schools that have left want to mediate any further damages in their home states. It’s there now. It seems that CUSA is simply delaying the inevitable and putting its remaining members in an awkward position. Schools usually plan travel arrangements for the next season, but this is often done now or soon. It is certain that Southern Miss will soon be able to put CUSA behind it.