NASHVILLE, Tenn. – – It’s official. Belmont University has become the 12th member institution of the Ohio Valley Conference, effective July 1.
After a 14-month transitional period and a decorated 11 years of achievement in the Atlantic Sun Conference, Belmont University Athletics begins its next chapter.
The Bruin program’s list of accomplishments over the past decade-plus are many; including 36 Atlantic Sun Conference championships, 12 NCAA Tournament appearances and national top 25 poll votes in baseball, men’s basketball and women’s basketball.
“The entire Belmont University Athletics family is excited about officially becoming a member of the Ohio Valley Conference,” Belmont University Director of Athletics Mike Strickland said. “We look forward to a long and prosperous tenure. The OVC has a storied tradition, and we are proud to be the newest member.”
In the classroom, Belmont earned the Atlantic Sun Conference All-Academic Trophy an unprecedented nine times in 11 years. This past year, 165 out of 216 Belmont student-athletes earned All-Academic honors, giving the university the greatest percentage of All-Academic honorees at 76.39 percent. To be named an A-Sun All-Academic honoree, a student-athlete must achieve a 3.00 GPA or higher in the classroom during the academic year. The student-athlete must participate in a conference sponsored sport and be on the team’s final squad list.
Moreover, Belmont student-athletes posted a 3.348 grade-point average (GPA) in the 2012 spring semester marking both the highest department GPA since Belmont became an NCAA Division I member institution in 1997 and the 29th consecutive semester in which the departmental GPA has exceeded 3.0.
In the recent NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) Public Recognition List report, a program-best seven Bruin teams ranked among the top 10 percent nationally in measures of eligibility and retention. Men’s basketball and men’s soccer stand among a handful of institutions to have been honored all seven years of the APR program’s existence. Adding Belmont’s contributions, the OVC had a total of 25 teams receive APR Public Recognition.
Belmont also ranks among the nation’s best in Capital One Academic All-America selections (19) since 2001.
The OVC has distinguished itself across the board for over six decades. In particular, the OVC is one of just nine conferences nationally (and one of only three non-BCS leagues) to win a men’s basketball NCAA Tournament game in four consecutive years. UT Martin’s Lester Hudson, Morehead State’s Kenneth Faried, and Tennessee Tech’s Kevin Murphy have been selected in the NBA Draft since 2009.
Belmont University’s first regular season contest as an OVC member takes place Sunday, Aug. 19, as women’s soccer plays at Toledo.
Belmont will compete for conference championships immediately during the 2012-13 season. Men’s soccer will compete as an NCAA Division I independent in 2012.
About Belmont University
Ranked No. 7 in the Regional Universities South category and named for the fourth consecutive year as one of the top “Up-and-Comer” universities by U.S. News & World Report, Belmont University consists of approximately 6,400 students who come from every state and 25 countries. Committed to being a leader among teaching universities, Belmont brings together the best of liberal arts and professional education in a Christian community of learning and service. The university’s purpose is to help students explore their passions and develop their talents to meet the world’s needs. With more than 75 areas of study, 20 master’s programs and four doctoral degrees, there is no limit to the ways Belmont University can expand an individual’s horizon. For more information visit www.belmont.edu