It looks like another Division I-A FBS football program is coming to Delaware Valley. The University of Delaware is expected to join Conference USA for the 2025-26 athletic season, reports ESPN’s Pete Thamel. The move is expected to be formalized in the next few days and will be for all athletic programs. The Blue Hens are currently members of the Coastal Athletic Association in all sports.
Rumors of a move to FBS football have been kicked around for some years now. The Blue Hens are a perennial FCS power on the gridiron including 23 playoff appearances, four finals appearances, and a National Championship (2003). Ranked No. 12 in FCS, the Blue Hens used a 17-point 4th quarter to defeat Lafayette, 36-34, to advance in the 2023 FCS Playoffs. The Blue Hens will travel to face No. 1 Montana on Saturday in Round Two.
Undoubtedly driven by the success of former CAA member James Madison, the Blue Hens will begin a two-year FBS transition period for the 2024 football season. They will be ineligible for FCS postseason play during the transition period. Other sports including men’s and women’s hoops will be eligible for their respective CAA tournaments creating an easier path to March Madness.
The move to Conference USA will likely serve as financial win for the University. C-USA entered a new media rights deal with CBS Sports and ESPN in October 2022. The six-year deal guarantees coverage of football, including mid-week prime time games, on both networks. Additionally, basketball and all other remaining sports will be televised on the networks or their respective streaming services. The deal is worth a reported $750,000 per school a year. The University’s location in the Philadelphia media market, the nation’s 4th largest, is a win for all involved.