Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Northern Kentucky University joining Division 1 in Athletics?

That's what I'm hearing. It's been reported this afternoon that Northern Kentucky University President James Votruba made the announcement today at the convocation.

Here's a report from WCPO:
NKU President James Votruba in answer to a question at the Wednesday’s spring convocation said stepping up from Division II to Division I is an issue the Board of Regents will pursue with an eye toward making application in the fall, according to Chris Cole, director of media relations and communications.

“From his perspective it makes sense to do that and we can afford to do it,” Cole said. “It’s definitely a direction we’re headed in.”

The NCAA or National Collegiate Athletic Association has had a four-year moratorium on adding schools to the Division 1 rank but that moratorium expires in the fall.[...]

“We’re already Division I academically, from a program standpoint, in university size, location,” Cole said.

Upgraded athletic facilities such as the new 10,000-seat Bank of Kentucky Center, a new soccer complex, a new softball facility, tennis courts and a baseball facility that is currently being upgraded make application for Division I status much more favorable than six years ago when it was considered, Cole said.

Currently, NKU has 13 sports but talk already has begun to add women's indoor and outdoor track and field to bring the number of sports offered by the school to the NCAA-required 14 for Division I status.
Local 12:
President Jim Voltruba told the group that he has come to the conclusion that Division One athletics is a better place for NKU both athletically and academically. He says the university will proceed this fall to take steps toward becoming Division One.

Doing so would add prestige to the university. The school would like to be a part of the Division One Horizon League-home of Butler, Valparaiso, Wright State, and seven other schools- or the Ohio Valley conference.
When I was a student at NKU, I worked in Sports Information. That said, when I first started hearing the talk about moving to D1, it was always the Horizon League being mentioned. This is the first time that I've heard the OVC being brought up as a possibility.

The OVC does have schools that do have football. They participate in the Football Championship Subdivision. Of their current 11 members, only 9 of them have football. Transportation wise, OVC sounds like a good fit with three schools from Kentucky.

The Horizon League, in my opinion, is more likely to be the future home of NKU. In the past several NCAA tournaments, only the BCS conferences and the Horizon League have seen at least one win in the tournament. From an athletic perspective, I'd go with the Horizon League.

The big thing now, that I see, is what becomes of the Northern Kentucky-Bellarmine rivalry.

Here are the two conferences as they sit right now:

Horizon League
Butler University
Cleveland State University
University of Detroit
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
Loyola University Chicago
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
University of Iillinois-Chicago
Valparaiso University
Wright State University
Youngstown State University

Ohio Valley Conference
Austin Peay State University
Eastern Illinois University
Eastern Kentucky University
Jacksonville State University
Morehead State University
Murray State University
Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
Southeast Missouri State University
Tennessee State University
Tennessee Technological University
University of Tennessee-Martin

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