Ohio Valley Conference
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The Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) is an American college sports conference that plays in the NCAA Division I. In football, the OVC is part of Division I FCS, the lower of two levels of Division I football. The member universities and colleges are in Alabama, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee. The OVC has its offices in the Nashville suburb of Brentwood, Tennessee.
The OVC grew out of talks between officials at three Kentucky schools—Eastern Kentucky, Murray State, and Western Kentucky—in 1941. America's entry into World War II later that year put these talks on hold for several years. Later, in 1948, the three original schools joined with two other Kentucky schools, plus one in Indiana, to form the conference.
It was one of the first conferences with a presence in the South to accept black athletes at historically white-only schools, with Morehead State being the first OVC member to do so in 1958. Today, the OVC is notable as being the only conference made up of traditionally white schools to have a historically black university (HBCU) as a member, namely Tennessee State. That school is also the only HBCU with a Division I sports program that plays in a conference that is not made up entirely of such schools.
The OVC's current membership of 12 is the largest in its history.
The OVC has 12 full members. Nine of these schools play football in the OVC; one plays football in another conference; and two do not play football at all. All members are public schools except for the league's newest member, Belmont.
- Austin Peay's football team left the OVC in 1997, but the school stayed in the OVC for other sports. The football team returned in 2007.
- The women's basketball team uses the nickname "Lady Colonels", but all other women's teams use "Colonels".
- Morehead State has a football team, but it plays in the Pioneer Football League instead of the OVC.
- The baseball team uses "Thoroughbreds" as its nickname instead of "Racers".
The OVC has one "associate" member—i.e., a school that plays a sport in the OVC that its main conference does not sponsor.
|School||Location||Founded||Type||Nickname||OVC sport(s)||Joined||Main conference|
|University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
|Chattanooga, Tennessee||1886||Public||Mocs||Beach volleyball||2019||SoCon|
Nine schools have been full members, but are no longer in the league.
|University of Akron||Akron, Ohio||1870||Public||Zips||1980||1987||MAC|
|East Tennessee State University||Johnson City, Tennessee||1911||Public||Buccaneers||1958||1978||SoCon|
|University of Evansville||Evansville, Indiana||1854||Private||Purple Aces||1948||1952||Missouri Valley|
|University of Louisville||Louisville, Kentucky||1798||Public||Cardinals||1948||1949||ACC|
|Marshall University||Huntington, West Virginia||1837||Public||Thundering Herd||1949||1952||C-USA|
|Middle Tennessee State University||Murfreesboro, Tennessee||1911||Public||Blue Raiders||1952||2000||C-USA|
|Samford University||Homewood, Alabama||1841||Private||Bulldogs||2003||2008||SoCon|
|Western Kentucky University||Bowling Green, Kentucky||1906||Public||Hilltoppers &
|Youngstown State University||Youngstown, Ohio||1906||Public||Penguins||1981||1988||Horizon League|
- Western Kentucky's football team returned to the OVC for the 1999 and 2000 seasons.
Former associate membersEdit
The OVC had one associate member in the past, but that school left when it folded its only OVC sports team.
|School||Location||Founded||Type||Nickname||OVC sport(s)||Joined||Left||Main conference||Conference in former|
|Columbus State University||Columbus, Georgia||1958||Public||Cougars||Rifle||2012||2015||Peach Belt (Div. II)||None (dropped rifle in 2015)|
- "OVC History". Ohio Valley Conference. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
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