Dear Friends,

As a lifelong University of Delaware Football fan, I am delighted to learn that my old school is going to join Conference USA. This is a lower level of Division 1 and will be a higher level of football and stiffer competition. This move should enable Delaware to improve its recruiting, scholarship fundraising, construction of better facilities, and much more. Delaware fans will see the possibility of some more big time football and U of D will eventually be able to participate in a bowl game as well.

Although the move will cost Delaware about $5 million dollars, major fundraising is underway.

Folks, I am excited about the prospect!

This coming Saturday, Delaware is traveling to play Montana in a 2nd round playoff game in their current Division. GO BLUE Hens!!

As always your comments are welcome and appreciated.

Sincerely Yours,

JUDSON Bennett-Coastal Network

Googled article below:

Reports: Delaware poised to join Conference USA, move to FBS

· Sean Greene

 Published Nov 27, 2023 at 2:00 pm

Delaware RB Marcus Yarns celebrates after scoring a touchdown vs. Towson

The University of Delaware is on the verge of moving to the top subdivision of college athletics.

Several media outlets, including ESPN, are reporting that UD is expected to announce, as soon as later this week, they will join Conference USA for the 2025-26 season.

Delaware had been in discussions for several years about a possible move from the FCS (formerly I-AA) up to FBS (formerly I-A), especially as many of their top rivals over the past 30 years have made the jump.

If Delaware begins their transition to FBS next season, they could begin increasing their scholarship limit immediately, where they would go from 63 scholarships up to 85.

The start time is important, as former-CAA rival James Madison learned this year, as they were ranked in the Associated Press’ top 25, but were not eligible for their conference’s championship, or a direct bowl bid, although they will get into a bowl as a result of not enough teams being eligible this season.

Delaware’s move is, at least for now, not one that makes geographical sense, as Delaware would become the northeastern-most school in Conference USA by almost 300 miles, where you would find Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Also in the league are Florida International, Jacksonville (Alabama) State, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee State, New Mexico State, Sam Houston (Texas) State, UTEP, and Western Kentucky.

Kennesaw (Georgia) State is set to join next year.

Sam Houston State is the current employer of Delaware’s 2003 FCS National Championship coach K.C. Keeler, where current Blue Hens coach Ryan Carty last served as Offensive Coordinator before taking the UD job.

There’s a heavy dose of FCS flavor in their potential new league.

SHSU won the Spring 2021 FCS National Championship, Western Kentucky won the 2002 crown, while Louisiana Tech (1984) played in the finals, Delaware played Jacksonville State in the Spring 2021 tournament, and Kennesaw State lost to Sam Houston in the 2017 semis as one of four trips into the tournament.

Joining Conference USA will come with a heavy price tag.

Delaware would become the first school required to pay the new $5 million upgrade fee to go from FCS to FBS, a fee that was $5,000 before this year.

The Blue Hens would also be tasked with not only fundraising for 22 new football scholarships, but also 22 new women’s sports scholarships to satisfy Title IX requirements.

Those numbers could potentially be met by adding two women’s sports that Conference USA sponsors but Delaware doesn’t: Bowling and Beach volleyball.

Conference USA also offers both men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track, but Delaware famously turfed their indoor track to turn the UD Field House into a football practice facility over ten years ago.

Delaware will be tasked with finding homes for some of their current sports, as CUSA does not sponsor field hockey or lacrosse, sports where Delaware has had some of its most national success, with field hockey winning the 2016 National Championship and men’s lacrosse playing in the 2007 Final Four. 

It’s also possible this could lead to an even bigger fundraising campaign to further upgrade facilities around Delaware Stadium, which had its West (home) stands overhauled.

All sports would make the move, which would become particularly challenging for Delaware’s two basketball programs.

Conference USA was rated as the 10th best conference in the country in men’s basketball by the Sagarin Ratings, while the then-Colonial Athletic Association (now Coastal) was 24th out of 33 leagues/independents. 

That CUSA rating is likely to drop, however, as the four best teams: Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Alabama-Birmingham, and Charlotte, are all exiting the league.

On the Women’s side, Delaware most now contend with traditional Top-25 mid-major Middle Tennessee State, a school that once recruited Elena Delle Donne, a challenge as big as when Delaware joined the Colonial over two decades ago and faced Old Dominion regularly.

Ryan Carty was asked about the potential move during his weekly appearance on the CAA press conference.

“We’ll have some news coming in the coming days. I’m sure that would be exciting news coming forward for you, but I don’t really have anything to say right now about it.”

Delaware joined FCS/I-AA in 1980, the year after winning the 1979 Division II National Championship. 

Football spent six years as an independent, before landing in the Yankee Conference, which eventually morphed into the Atlantic 10, and then Colonial Athletic Association.

At the time of the move to I-AA, Delaware’s other sports were in the East Coast Conference, before jumping to the then-North Atlantic Conference for the 1991-92 season.

The NAC eventually became the America East Conference, which housed Delaware until their move to the Colonial Athletic Association in 2001-02.

Of the 10 teams in that league, Old Dominion moved to Conference USA in 2013-14, before jumping to the Sun Belt in 2022-23, in a move that also brought up fellow Virginia school James Madison from the CAA.

Two other Virginia school, George Mason and VCU moved to the more basketball-centric Atlantic 10 by 2012-13.

Time will tell if Delaware’s move to the top level of college football can pay dividends. 

Typically, FBS schools can charge larger guarantees when they play Power 5 opponents, such as when Delaware played Penn State this year.

Former Yankee Conference rivals UConn and UMASS are also in FBS football, but both are toiling with 3-9 records this year as independents.

Temple also would become a logical non-conference rival for the Blue Hens, although save the 2015 season when they started 6-0, the Owls have struggled to find meaningful footing in FBS.

Some FCS to FBS moves have at least been temporarily successful, most notably Boise State, which left I-AA in 1996, two years after winning the national title, and have played in a bowl game in all but two seasons since 1999.

Marshall won 2 FCS National Championships, and then had four 10+ win seasons in their first six years in FBS, but have had just three others since 2003, settling for Gasparilla, Myrtle Beach, Camellia, and Beef O’Brady Bowls when they have winning records