Reports: UD in talks to join Conference USA, pay $5 million application fee


ESPN reported today that the University of Delaware is slated to join Conference USA and make a long-rumored move to the Division 1 (FBS) major college ranks in football.

The sports network reported that sources indicated an agreement could be announced in the coming days with a two-year transition in football to the conference.

UD is currently in the Coastal Athletic Association, formerly Colonial, where it competes against Villanova, Richmond, and other regional universities. If an agreement is reached, the Blue Hens will join a far-flung league that includes Sam Houston State and New Mexico State.

Brett McMurphy of College Football Insider reported UD would have to pay a hefty application fee to join Division 1, up from $5,000.

Joining the conference would also sharply increase football travel expenses for UD, which mainly plays colleges and universities within a bus ride rather than a chartered jet flight.

College football is seeing a realignment of conferences in response to changes that include top players now being paid and universities scrambling to find spots in other conferences. This is especially true on the West Coast, with PAC 10 schools moving to far-flung conferences like the Big 10 and Big 12, where some games will require long flights and hotel stays.

Meanwhile, UD faces Montana in the second-tier college playoffs after winning over Lafayette.

UD, whose alumni ranks include President Biden and Presidential candidate and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, has been working to raise its national profile. The university has upgraded its football stadium and training facilities after falling behind rival schools in that area.