NKU can compete in conference tournaments - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

NKU can compete in conference tournaments

NORTHERN KENTUCKY (FOX19) -

The Atlantic Sun Conference announced today that NKU will be eligible for all conference postseason championships for which its teams qualify starting with the upcoming 2014-15 season.

Northern Kentucky is entering the third year of a four-year reclassification period before becoming eligible for NCAA Championships at the Division I level, but the change allows current student-athletes the opportunity to compete for a conference postseason title.

"This is tremendous news for all of our student-athletes and coaches," said NKU Athletics Director Ken Bothof. "Since my arrival here at NKU, the ability to participate in postseason play is something that has continued to be a point of discussion. This is a wonderful opportunity to enhance the student-athlete experience. There are many conferences that discuss the importance of the student-athlete experience, but the Atlantic Sun continues to show it will be a leader in this discussion. Commissioner (Ted) Gumbart has not only done a great job of communicating the importance of our student-athletes, but he has also demonstrated a willingness to support them as well."

The change in policy not only affords Northern Kentucky a chance to compete in conference postseason play, but to host postseason events as well, as the Atlantic Sun Championships for men's and women's soccer and men's and women's basketball will be contested at campus sites.

"Postseason play is something that coaches and players look forward to each and every season," said men's basketball head coach Dave Bezold. "We thought we had another two years to wait for that opportunity as a Division I program. Thanks to the A-Sun and NCAA we will have the chance to play in the postseason conference tourney this season. This is a great surprise for all of the coaches and student-athletes at NKU."

The change in A-Sun policy arose after NCAA clarification that a conference may set specific criteria allowing its highest ranked finisher to be the automatic qualifier (AQ) recipient if a non-eligible team were to participate and win the conference postseason tournament. Prior policy had determined that the conference would lose its AQ if an ineligible team won the tournament.

The A-Sun and its eight member institutions seized the opportunity to refine the conference's postseason AQ criteria to immediately allow NKU student-athletes full opportunity to qualify for and participate in all A-Sun Championships.

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