Breaking: Belmont expected to depart OVC for MVC
Good morning, and thanks for spending part of your day with Extra Points.
This issue of Extra Points is brought to you by Gridiron Metal Works.
Gridiron Metal Works makes quality metal homegoods for the college superfan. With a wide-assortment of officially licensed collegiate products, such as grill grates, outdoor planter boxes, bookends and more, we’re certain you’ll be able to find the perfect gift for that special fan in your life that they don’t already have…or for yourself! Use promocode EXTRAPOINTS and get 15% off your first order. Check us out at gridironmetal.com.
Last week, this newsletter reported that Austen Peay was expected to leave the Ohio Valley Conference for the ASUN, a move that the school shortly confirmed. It appears that APSU won't be the only school to leave the OVC in the near future.
Multiple industry sources confirm to Extra Points that Belmont University is also expected to depart the OVC, and could announce a move to the Missouri Valley Conference as early as next week.
Requests for comment at Belmont, the Missouri Valley and Ohio Valley have not been immediately returned, and this newsletter will be updated should they respond.
Unlike APSU, or other recent OVC defectors Eastern Kentucky and Jacksonville State, Belmont does not sponsor FCS football. But the school is unquestionably the strongest and most prestigious men's basketball program in the league. The Bruins have won at least 20 games in 11 consecutive seasons, making five NCAA Tournaments in that span. The women's basketball program is also very strong, making five NCAA Tournaments since 2016. Belmont's women's squad upset #5 seed Gonzaga in the 2021 Tournament.
The addition of Belmont gives the MVC 11 teams, and further cements the league's reputation as one of the best basketball conferences outside the Power Six (P5 + Big East). I've previously reported that the MVC had interest in UT-Arlington as a possible expansion candidate, although I am told such an addition is not likely at this time. Should the MVC wish to make it an even 12, I'm told there would be no shortage of interested candidates, including schools in the OVC and Horizon League, as well as schools located farther outside the league's more traditional geographic footprint.
With the loss of Belmont, the OVC is down to just eight schools, and six FCS-football playing institutions. Industry sources have told me that they expect Western Illinois to eventually join the conference, but other potential expansion candidates are currently unknown. It is also possible that other schools, like Murray State, could decide to leave the league for other conferences.
I will update this newsletter as I learn additional information about this developing story, but I wanted to share what I've got with you.
If you found this interesting or informative, please consider subscribing to Extra Points
Extra Points covers the off-the-field forces that shape college sports, from mid-major conference realignment, to media rights deals, NIL, state funding, and more.
You can get two newsletters a week, absolutely free, with a subscription. And with a paid subscription, you not only get four newsletters a week, but you also get the satisfaction that comes with supporting independent media. I'm not chasing clicks....if I was, I wouldn't be writing about the OVC. I'm able to do this with your support.
If you enjoy Extra Points, please consider a subscription:
To sponsor a future Extra Points newsletter, please click here. For article ideas, newsletter feedback, FOIA tips, athlete NIL sponsorships and more, I'm at [email protected], or @MattBrownEP on Twitter.
I'll see y'all next week.