RICHMOND, Ky. — The Atlantic Sun Conference announced Friday that it's adding Eastern Kentucky University starting in July of 2021.
The Colonels are not the only OVC school leaving for the A-Sun. Jacksonville State will also go in with the Colonels along with Central Arkansas from the Southland Conference.
"We believe this is a historic day," said EKU Director of Athletics Matt Roan, "we will build new rivalries and look forward to traveling where a lot of our Colonels alumni live."
Bellarmine was added in 2020. So the addition of the three new schools will bring the Atlantic Sun to 12 members in the conference.
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
A-Sun Commissioner Ted Gumbart said, "for sustainability of the league we needed to start football in the conference." Including EKU, only five of these schools currently participate in football (Kennesaw State, Liberty, North Alabama and Stetson). There is a goal to have 7 or 8 members who play football.
Eastern Kentucky is one of three original members of the OVC since 1948 still in the league along with Morehead State and Murray State. OVC Commissioner Beth DeBauche released a statement from the league. "Eastern Kentucky University informed us in writing, and Jacksonville State University has verbally informed us of their intention to leave the Ohio Valley Conference. 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 has a scheduled news conference to talk about the move in conferences on Friday at 1:00.