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Thursday, the Ohio Valley conference voted against adding two Division II schools to the league, Northern Kentucky University and the University of Northern Alabama, and will remain a 12-school league for the foreseeable future.

It’s a mildly surprising decision, given the OVC’s additions of Belmont and SIU Edwardsville into the league, and the general theme of expansion in the collegiate landscape over the past year.

But what may be more surprising is the reason behind that decision, especially where NKU is concerned.

From a new article on, the school’s president, clearly upset with the decision, said that he felt the OVC was threatened. From the article:

OVC schools apparently had concerns about whether NKU’s lack of a football program – which loses significant dollars at nearly all colleges – and the new Bank of Kentucky Center would give it too big an advantage over other OVC schools.

In case you didn’t know, the Bank of Kentucky Center is a 10,000 seat facility, which, assuming the school could fill it, would be the largest basketball stadium for any OVC team.

But if the OVC is concerned about balance, and not allowing a basketball school with no football program to overpower the conference…

Can somebody explain the decision to accept Belmont?

Because the way I see it, Belmont is simply a Division I version of NKU: a great basketball program without any football program.

In fact, 8 of the 11 schools in the OVC voted to accept Northern Kentucky, according to the article, including EKU, Murray State, and Morehead State.

Yet, the OVC is passing up a chance to enter into the Cincinnati media market, because of balance. The same balance they upset less than a year ago when Belmont was accepted into the league.

Every conference wants, deep at their core, to be a football conference. They look at the BCS conferences, and see that model, which works for those conferences, and want so bad to emulate it.

But the OVC isn’t, and hasn’t been in years, a football conference.

And it appeared the OVC had learned that, when they accepted two non-football schools in the Bruins and Cougars.

Except they haven’t.

I could have accepted that the conference didn’t want to become a place where every Division II school in the south made the jump to Division I.

I could have accepted that the conference thought having more than 12 teams would be too much for a small conference to sustain?

But balance? This is a cop out at best.

One of the underlying concerns I doubt you will ever see announced is that the OVC realizes they will eventually lose Jacksonville State, and they’re trying to keep themselves in a position to replace them with another high FCS football program.

Because football still matters.

Even in the OVC.

  1. Anonymous:
    FOOTBALL IS A JOKE outside of the FBS conferences. FCS is a joke. It's lose-lose. If you win, you can't get big-money games. If you lose, no one comes to watch. What's the benefit? UNA would have brought a lot to the football table. I agree, NKU and SIUE are very similar schools. But neither will hang in OVC basketball.
  2. Catlin Bogard:
    I disagree to a point...with their new arena, and in the Cincy market, I think NKU will hang in Division I basketball within 10 years.
  3. Anonymous:
    Agreed, NKU WOULD do fine in basketball with their arena and the Cincy market. However, lets not overlook the OVC in this. They didn't admit an institution for fear of that member building a strong program. Look in the mirror OVC, maybe that's why your conference is what it is.
  4. Anonymous:
    I would like to know the breakdown of the votes.
  5. Anonymous:
    Let's face it, the last nail in the NKU coffin was when its men's basketball team beat West Virginia in Morgantown and then hung to wire with No. 20 Cincinnati. The schools that voted NKU down saw that and did not want any part of a non-football school that could put those additional dollars in basketball. Could not imagine a better fit for the OVC, plus it would have gotten the league into the Cincinnati TV market. Idiots.
  6. Anonymous:
    The 3 Tennessee schools voted against NKU.
  7. Anonymous:
    How are the rest of NKU's facilities? There are more sports there than hoops.
  8. Anonymous:
    They accepted Belmont because getting beat up by a team that has been D1 for a while has less stigma than getting beat up by a team that is brand new to D1.
  9. Anonymous:
    NKU just built a $6 million soccer complex and has added new facilities for tennis and softball over the past decade or so. The old basketball gym has been converted to volleyball only. The baseball field needs a little work, but they are planning to build a new one in the next few years. The facilities there are better than the average DI school in virtually every respect.
  10. semosupporter:
    I find this post, by Boomerang, on the semofans site much more believable than anything else I've heard.
  11. Anonymous:
    Just read Boomerang on semofans site. He is clueless. OVC says NKU has too much financial support and nice facilities...North Alabama not enough financial support and poor facilities. What does OVC want? Atlantic Sun is a better conference anyway for athletics...good for NKU. If OVC didn't want NKU they shouldn't have dragged them along for 7 months.
  12. Allan:
    Did not know NKU was officially being considered...interesting. Would have LOVED them to come in to revive an old GLVC rivalry.
  13. how are you going to address Morehead State when they play in the Pioneer Football League and not the Ohio Valley Conference for football.
OVC Ball
Compiling all OVC non-conference games

2016 Football Standings

OVC Overall
Jacksonville State 7-0 10-2
UT Martin 6-2 7-5
Tennessee Tech 5-3 5-6
Tennessee State 4-3 7-4
Eastern Illinois 4-4 6-5
Murray State 4-4 4-7
SEMO 3-5 3-8
Eastern Kentucky 2-6 3-8
Austin Peay 0-8 0-11

2016-17 Basketball Standings

OVC Overall


Belmont 15-1 23-7
Morehead State 10-6 14-16
Jacksonville State 9-7 20-15
Tennessee State 8-8 17-13
Tennessee Tech 8-8 12-20
Eastern Kentucky 5-11 12-19


UT Martin 10-6 22-13
SEMO 9-7 15-18
Murray State 8-8 16-17
Austin Peay 7-9 11-19
Eastern Illinois 6-10 14-15
SIUE 1-15 6-24