OVC you later: Belmont moving to MVC

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Adam Tumino, Sports Editor

Come July 1, 2022, the OVC will be down to eight members. 

Belmont announced Tuesday that it is leaving the OVC to join the Missouri Valley Conference. 

Belmont became to fourth OVC school to announce its departure this year. Jacksonville State and Eastern Kentucky did so in January and left the conference in July to join the Atlantic Sun Conference.

Austin Peay announced it would leave the OVC on Sept. 17 and will be leaving on the same date as Belmont. Austin Peay is also joining the ASUN. 

The OVC now stands to lose one-third of its membership in a span of a year, and will be dropping to eight teams for men’s and women’s basketball and softball, seven teams for women’s soccer and baseball and just six teams for football. 

Belmont joined the OVC in 2012 and immediately established itself as a basketball power. 

The men’s team has won the regular season title for the OVC seven times and the conference tournament three times. 

The women’s team has won the regular season title four times and the conference tournament five times, including last season. 

The women’s team also won a game in the NCAA Tournament last season, becoming the first OVC women’s basketball team to do so. 

In a story from USA Today, Belmont athletic director Scott Corley said that he is excited to be a part of the MVC. 

“To think in 25 years what Belmont has done by going from an NAIA school to now today joining one of the oldest and most prestigious, competitive conferences in all of Division I, it’s really humbling,” he said. 

As Belmont as Austin Peay prepare to leave, the OVC is engaged in a legal dispute with the last two teams that left. 

On Aug. 3, the OVC filed a lawsuit against Jacksonville State and Eastern Kentucky, claiming that neither school paid its $1 million exit fee. 

At the time the suit was filed, OVC Commissioner Beth DeBauche said that the league presidents did not want to file a lawsuit, but felt it was necessary. 

Eastern Kentucky had been a member of the OVC since its founding in 1948. Austin Peay joined the OVC with the conference since 1962 and Jacksonville State joined in 2003. 

 

Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]u.