NORFOLK — Shared information, open dialogue and no public conclusions were the takeaway from Monday's Old Dominion Board of Visitors executive committee meeting.
The committee went into closed session for approximately 100 minutes Monday afternoon, during which time several ODU officials briefed members on "the changing landscape of athletics" and details of a potential move from its present home in the Colonial Athletic Association to Conference USA.
"It was a great, candid conversation," athletic director Wood Selig said. "I think that's the best way to describe it. An absolute open, honest conversation."
The open, honest conversation was held behind closed doors, as most board members declined to offer specifics of the presentations or dialogue after the meeting adjourned.
"This was the first opportunity for the board to hear from the management of the university about the changing landscape of athletics," said Board rector David Bernd, the CEO of Sentara Health Systems. "We looked at all the issues being presented to Old Dominion University, and at this time there's no decision. That's all we've got."
Asked if he had concerns about a possible conference move, Bernd replied, "I don't want to comment on that. I don't have any concerns at this time. That's it."
ODU officials have studied for weeks the possibility of jumping to Conference USA, which notably would provide a home for and require a significant step up for the Monarchs' football program — from the Football Championship Subdivision level to Football Bowl Subdivision.
Such a move would require millions of additional dollars in the areas of stadium and facilities upgrades, scholarships and operating expenses.
ODU president John Broderick called the decision crucial for the entire university, not just the athletic department.
"It's most important for the university," Broderick said. "That's what the athletic department is a part of. Everything that we do here, we try to do based on the best interest of our students and the best interest of the welfare of our students and our student-athletes."
There is no specific timetable for ODU to make a decision about its future conference home, though several factors are in play.
Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky said that his league must be informed by June 30 in order to add a school for the 2013-14 academic year. C-USA recently added five schools for 2013, which will bring membership to 13, and aims to get to 14 and perhaps eventually 16.
If ODU notifies the NCAA of its intention to move its football program to the FBS level before June 1, the Monarchs would be ineligible for this year's FCS playoffs. The Monarchs advanced to the second round of the playoffs last season in their first year as a full, competing member of the CAA and envision themselves as national contenders again.
If ODU decides to jump to Conference USA, the CAA could make the Monarchs' ineligible to compete for the league title and automatic playoff berth, thus forcing them to earn an at-large invitation.
Selig said that the goal is to allow ODU football to compete for postseason in 2012.
"Certainly, if we stay in the CAA, there's nothing different," he said. "If we look to go elsewhere, football shouldn't change in 2012, regardless of where we may or may not be."
ODU's full Board of Visitors next meets June 14. The board must sign off on whatever Broderick and Selig recommend.
The CAA already has seen Georgia State announce its departure for the Sun Belt Conference. George Mason explored an opportunity to join the Atlantic 10 Conference before announcing last week that it would remain in the CAA.
Meanwhile, VCU is still considering a jump to the A-10. Reports have the Rams all but officially gone, though CAA officials said early Monday evening that they had no confirmation and had received no notice from VCU.
"There's just a lot of movement going on, in general," Selig said. "That, I think, is accelerating everyone's conversations."