JMU was established in 1906 as an all-women's teaching college while ODU developed in the early 1900s as the "Norfolk Division of William & Mary," and did not become an independent institution until 1962. ODU had a football program during the 1930s but had to drop it due to budget constraints. In 2008, the ODU Monarchs revived its program after a roughly 70-year dormancy. Up until the 2012 season, JMU and ODU were both members of the Colonial Athletic Association in the FCS.
In May 2012, Old Dominion announced that it will be joining Conference USA for football in 2014 which will cause the football rivalry with JMU to cease for the time being.