From OVC Media Relations
The Big South Conference and the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) announced today that they have signed a letter of intent to create an association of their football member institutions, to begin with the 2023 NCAA Division I football season.
The unique agreement combines the two conferences' football membership to ensure NCAA championship access. It will provide the football member institutions a schedule of games against all the teams in their multisport conference and additional games against schools from the other conference. This new model for FCS football also creates more stability for the multisport conferences.
Details of the association's overall structure and administration have been outlined and are expected to be finalized, along with the 2023 schedule, in the coming months.
Dr. J. Bradley Creed, Chair of the Big South Council of Football Members, Chair of the Council of Chief Executive Officers, and President of Campbell University, and Dr. David Glassman, President of Eastern Illinois University and Chair of the OVC Board of Presidents, made the announcement, expressing their enthusiasm for this distinctive structure.
"The Big South – Ohio Valley Conference football association will strengthen the efforts of both conferences to provide greater opportunities for our student-athletes," stated Dr. Creed. "This move has the unanimous support of the CEOs of the football schools in the Big South Conference, and we look forward to enlarging and enlivening the field of competition for our teams. I commend President Glassman and his colleagues in the OVC for their role in establishing this collaboration."
"The OVC is pleased to come together with the Big South to establish a new FCS football model, aimed at ensuring outstanding competition and championship access for our student-athletes," said Dr. Glassman. "The world of intercollegiate athletics is changing, and all of the OVC members are looking forward to working with Dr. Creed and the rest of the Big South presidents to establish a new paradigm for FCS football across our region. In addition, we welcome the participation of other leagues interested in working together for the betterment of intercollegiate athletics."
The presidents pointed particularly to the similarities of the OVC and the Big South, with their complementary geographies and intercollegiate athletic philosophies, as key to making this association possible. The association will have an initial term of at least four years.
WHAT'S THE BIG SOUTH (www.BigSouthSports.com)
Founded in 1983, the Big South Conference has been an exemplary leader in college athletics, dedicated to developing student-athletes through the pursuit of excellence in the classroom, community and field of play. The league's growing presence as an NCAA Division I athletic conference is made evident by its multitude of athletic accomplishments, innovative marketing and media partnerships, increased television packages and most importantly, its commitment to fostering the academic, personal, social, athletic and leadership development of its student-athletes. Comprised of 12 full-time member institutions sharing a common geographic region and similar academic values and purposes, the Big South's remarkable history of achievement is characterized by the league's seven national championships along with the profound academic and life successes of its more than 4,200 student-athletes. The Big South Conference: Where Winners Are Made.
ABOUT THE OVC (www.OVCSports.com)
The Ohio Valley Conference was founded in 1948 and is in its seventh decade of competition, making it the eighth-oldest Division I athletic conference. Now in its 74th year, OVC teams have garnered national championships in football along with national team or individual titles in the sports of rifle, cross country, track and golf. Over the past seven years the league has placed multiple teams in NCAA Championship fields in the sports baseball, men's basketball, football and rifle. In the 1950s the OVC became a pioneer when Morehead State became one of the first non-traditionally Black mid-southern institutions to accept an African American student. Soon after the passing of Title IX legislation, the OVC began formulating plans for women's athletics which began in 1977. The OVC has long been a national leader in sportsmanship and in 1995 implemented a first-of-its-kind Sportsmanship Statement, a policy that promotes principals of fair play, ethical conduct and respect for one's opponent. The OVC has a multi-year media rights agreement with ESPN and well as a sponsorship agreement with LEARFIELD.