Ohio Valley Conference will not send invitation to NKU

Published: Nov. 17, 2011 at 6:04 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2011 at 11:28 AM EST
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HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, KY (FOX19) - Northern Kentucky University's quest to join a Division I conference has hit a slight snag.

The Ohio Valley Conference has voted against sending an invitation to NKU.

NKU President James Votruba said in a statement on the school's website that the requisite 75 percent was not met to extend the invitation.

"Concerns of competitive balance were cited as the reason, with some institutions feeling that NKU's facilities, geographic recruiting advantages and competitive funding model could result in our dominating the conference," said Votruba in the statement.

The OVC includes Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State University and Murray State University. Votruba said several OVC presidents contacted him, encouraging the school to join the OVC.

"We were excited about much of what the OVC had to offer - especially the possibility for exciting in-state rivalries - but we will not be joining the OVC at this time," said Votruba.

NKU has also discussed joining the Atlantic Sun, Horizon League and Summit League. Votruba says the school has had several conversations with each of them.

"Over the coming days and weeks, the university will continue to explore our options and determine which league makes the most sense for us," said Votruba.

"We expect to receive and invitation, to announce publicly and declare Division I by the end of the calendar year," said Chris Cole, NKU's Director of Marketing and Communications. "That's always been our goal and we feel that we can still do that."

And with a Division I status, Cole pitched an idea.

"We think it would be great to several years down the road have a tournament that has UC, Xavier ,us...all sort of playing each other on a given weekend. What could possibly be more fun that?" said Cole.

Don't look for NKU to meet up with the likes of UC, Xavier or UK in March Madness anytime soon. Under NCAA guidelines, schools that make the jump from Division II to Division I must ride the bench for four years before they become eligible for the big tournament at the end of the year.

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