Virginia Tech, Old Dominion in discussions about future series

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BLACKSBURG, Va. — Virginia Tech is in talks with Old Dominion about playing a football series, Hokies athletic director Jim Weaver said Friday, though the two sides do not have a contract or dates yet.

“We’re not even close to that point at this juncture,” Weaver said. “There’s just dialogue going on about that.”

The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk was the first to report on a possible series between the two.

Weaver said Tech would only be interested in a two-for-one deal, with two games at Lane Stadium and one return trip to ODU.

“Somebody said they heard we’re going to do a home and home,” Weaver said. “We would not do that. The only thing we’d do is a two-for-one.”

Weaver said the games with ODU are appealing, not because the Monarchs are making the jump to the FBS level and Conference USA, but because the school is located in the recruiting hotbed of the Tidewater (Virginia) area.

“That is a very heavily recruited area,” Weaver said.

The Hokies have always culled top talent from the 757 area, and that trend has continued recently. Four of Tech’s verbal commitments for the 2013 class are from the Tidewater region, including four-star quarterback Bucky Hodges (Salem High School).

Weaver said Virginia Tech director of football operations John Ballein has the lead in working out the ODU deal. Ballein, in an email Friday, confirmed talks between the two schools but didn’t comment further.

Weaver said finding matching open dates and adjusting to the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule complicates the scheduling.

“That’s why it can’t happen overnight,” Weaver said. “We don’t have any confirmation on anything at this juncture.”

Weaver said games with ODU would fit with his philosophy of playing in-state opponents out of conference to help those schools financially. While Weaver said Tech and ODU would most likely only pay each other travel costs for the games, ODU would likely get a financial boost in ticket and concession sales from hosting the Hokies.

Tech has contracts to play FCS schools William & Mary in 2014 and Liberty in 2016, and are in talks for future games with James Madison, Richmond and William & Mary.

“If we’re going to play a I-AA team, we have tried to stay in-state and play all in-state people to keep the money in state to help those programs,” Weaver said.

FBS schools like Virginia Tech and Virginia often pay guarantees of over $300,000 game to teams from the FCS level.

Virginia Tech plays Austin Peay, an FCS school, in the second game of this season. It beat FCS power Appalachian State last year. In 2010, the Hokies hosted James Madison and were upset 21-16, playing just five days after a Labor Day loss to Boise State at FedEx Field.

NOTE:Tech picked up another verbal commitment for its already-impressive 2013 football recruiting class when Liberty-Bealeton defensive end Wyatt Teller pledged his services to the Hokies on Friday. The 6-foot-4, 264-pound Teller chose Tech over Virginia. He is rated a four-star prospect by the recruiting website Rivals.com.

Teller joins fellow four-star recruits Holland Fisher, a linebacker from Midlothian, Va., and Hodges, as well as five-star cornerback Kendall Fuller.

Virginia Tech now has 16 verbal commitments for the 2013 class.

Read more about the Hokies at TimesDispatch.com

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