(Highland Heights, Ky.) - Northern Kentucky University still plans to go Division I in NCAA athletics by this time next year, but it won’t be in the Ohio Valley Conference.
NKU President James Votruba said Thursday that there are not enough votes from OVC schools to allow NKU to join.
“Over a year ago, several Ohio Valley Conference presidents contacted me, encouraging NKU to consider the OVC. After extensive conversations with the OVC, we have learned that while a significant majority of the league's presidents - including the presidents from Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State University and Murray State University - have voted to extend an invitation to NKU, the requisite 75 percent has not been met,” Votruba said in a message to the university.
The schools who voted against NKU becoming a member had concerns of a competitive advantage. The university’s geographic location in the Cincinnati area may be a recruiting advantage. New facilities such as the Bank of Kentucky Center could also be perceived as advantages for luring top recruits.
The Ohio Valley Conference made sense for Northern Kentucky. Membership would have created four in-state rivalries within the conference.
NKU is still seeking to be D-I in the fall of 2012.
“We have been contacted by multiple Division I conferences that have stated a strong interest in adding NKU. Over the coming days and weeks, the university will continue to explore our options and determine which league makes the most sense for us,” Votruba said.
Other possible conference destinations for the Norse include the Atlantic Sun Conference, Summit League, Horizon League.
A move to Division I would require NKU to nearly double its current $4.2 million athletic budget and add a 14th sport, likely women’s track and field.