Eastern Kentucky’s move out of the Ohio Valley Conference is officially official.
After weeks of speculation, OVC Commissioner Beth DeBauche confirmed EKU’s departure Friday morning.
“Eastern Kentucky University informed us in writing, and Jacksonville State University has verbally informed us of their intention to leave the Ohio Valley Conference,” DeBauche announced. “By its very nature, conference membership is dynamic as institutional priorities and areas of focus change. We respect that evolution and value the fact both institutions will always be a valued part of our illustrious past. We wish them well and plan to follow our rules to ensure a smooth transition process.”
EKU was one of the conference’s founding institutions back in 1948, joining Murray State and Morehead State as the three original programs still standing today. Now, that’s dropped to two.
Earlier this week, EKU accidentally confirmed its departure on the EKUSports.com website, a page that has since been deleted. At the time, the school unofficially announced it would join the Atlantic Sun Conference at the conclusion of the spring sports calendar with an A-Sun start date of July 1, 2021.
Yahoo! Sports’ Pete Thamel reported, however, that Eastern Kentucky is expected to join the WAC as an associate member for football only in 2021 before the school’s complete transition to the Atlantic Sun in football in 2022.
Sources: The WAC is close to finalizing a plan to add 3 schools as associate members for football only in 2021 – Eastern Kentucky, Central Arkansas and Jacksonville. (They are headed to Atlantic Sun for 2022 and beyond, as that league is slated to begin football.)
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) January 28, 2021
The full list of the new 12-member Atlantic Sun coming this July, which includes Bellarmine in Louisville:
University of Central Arkansas
Eastern Kentucky University
Florida Gulf Coast University
Jacksonville State University
Kennesaw State University
University of North Alabama
University of North Florida