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There’s still three days to get this right.

Don’t think that the quest is over. Just because the big conference tournaments are in full swing, because the selection committee is behind locked doors, and somewhat baffling locked twitter accounts, that Murray State’s fate is sealed.

I’m not talking to the fans: from the moment the championship ended, their passion and vigor online has been unmatched.

I’m talking to the Ohio Valley Conference.

I don’t believe, for one second, that the conference isn’t working to help the Racers earn a bid into the NCAA Tournament. I’ve met many of people who help run the conference, and they’re too intelligent and passionate themselves to sit idly by. They know getting a second bid would be a huge boost to the conference’s profile, and they understand how they can play a role.

So, why won’t they just tell us what they’re doing?

Here’s the public advocation I’ve found from the OVC since Sunday. This likely isn’t a complete list, more of just what’s readily available:

  • One unique tweet where they describe that they talked to the NCAA selection committee about Belmont’s seed, and why the Racers deserve a bid. This is something they do every year.
  • Seven retweets from others advocating for a Racers bid.
  • Four favorited tweets with the hashtag #RacersDeserveABid
  • A quote from Beth DeBauche in an odd article on GoRacers.com that says the OVC is advocating for the Racers, but doesn’t explain how.
  • Two articles from national media posted to their facebook page advocating for a Racers bid.

It’s what I haven’t seen that’s just as disconcerting: Zero posts on OVCSports.com advocating for a bid. Zero articles on the OVC-run OVCextra.com advocating for a bid. (Reminder: OVC Ball is independently run) I haven’t heard or seen any radio or TV appearances.

The OVC hasn’t been a two-bid basketball conference in 30 years. This is a huge deal — not just for Murray, but all 12 programs. If the Racers can’t earn an at-large this year, how will the Ohio Valley Conference ever be a two-bid conference?

Murray State getting in the tournament in addition to Belmont means more money for the conference. If they win a game or two, the money continues to grow — for everyone. For Tennessee State, Eastern Kentucky, SIUE, the entire conference. You’re not advocating one school over the other, you’re advocating your league over others.

Secrecy breeds mistrust, and the OVC’s campaign for Murray State is less transparent that the selection committee’s process for determining whether the Racers make it in.

I understand that the conference must balance 12 schools, not just one. But a bid for Murray State helps the entire league. And this isn’t a basketball issue. The OVC should do the same for football teams on the bubble every year, for baseball teams trying to get an at-large into the NCAA Tournament. Push Morehead State for a postseason bid in the CIT or CBI. Promote Belmont for a higher-seed. Just promote your league. Publicly. Social media has made it easier, and more effective than ever.

Need ideas? I’ve got you covered. Create infographics about your teams, and how strong the league really is. Post an article on your owned websites. (I’ll even write it for you, if you’d like.) Tell us who the commissioner is calling, and get her on the air. I know you have an office full of talented people that can execute these, and probably even more.

Yes, there may be some negative response. Fans may think you’re favoring one team over another. But no other school is on the NCAA bubble right now. Next year, when it’s a different program, promote them just as vigorously. But doing everything behind closed doors isn’t enamoring you to anyone.

Just lift the veil.

You’re already doing the work, at least I can’t imagine you aren’t. Now you need to take credit for it. Murray State head coach Steve Prohm has already gone above and beyond. Join him there. Show him, Racer Nation, and the league you truly are their partners.

The clock hasn’t run out.

Three days remain.


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  1. JC Scott:
    Catlin, Why don't the OVC asked athletic alumni to do a campaign blitz? Robert Covington Ian Clark Isiah Canaan Kenneth Faried Marcus Brown ... and so forth? I agree with you that this is a hugely missed opportunity to promote the conference directly and/or indirectly. Though it has its fair share of bottom-feeders, this a good and rising "mid-major" conference.
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

EAST

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

WEST

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


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