NORFOLK (WAVY) — Old Dominion and East Carolina have signed a six-game, home-and-home football series beginning in 2022.

Located 2 ½-hours from Norfolk, ECU is the closest Football Bowl Subdivision school to ODU.

Reducing spending has become more of a priority for college athletics since the coronavirus pandemic began and this series allows both schools to trim travel costs significantly.

Dr. Wood Selig, ODU’s athletic director, said signing a long-term deal with ECU has been a major priority for his staff.

“With the exception of Virginia Tech, East Carolina is the one football opponent that most resonates with our fans,” Dr. Selig said.

While ECU plays in the American Athletic Conference and ODU competes in Conference USA, Selig said this type of non-conference scheduling makes sense.

“You tell your schools because you have alliances with other conferences in the geographical footprint, go schedule the rest of your games as non-conference games that you can bus to that your fans want to see that make sense so you can lessen your conference schedule and expand your non-conference scheduling.”