Conference USA athletic directors voted to make Old Dominion's football program eligible for their 2014 championship, one year earlier than originally announced.
Old Dominion, which announced last May that it had accepted an invitation to join Conference USA, will transition toward the FBS level in 2013 and play an FCS independent schedule with a scholarship level above the FCS limit.
Although the Monarchs will join the East Division of Conference USA in 2014, they will not be eligible for a bowl berth until 2015.
"This is a great moment for ODU and our program to learn we are championship eligible in 2014. We are grateful to the leadership in Conference USA," ODU coach Bobby Wilder said. "This will provide motivation to our current student- athletes and our incoming recruits to raise the bar quickly to get ready to compete for the championship in C-USA."