Courtesy: Big South Sports
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Big South Conference and the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) announced today that they have signed a letter of intent to create an association of their football member institutions, to begin with the 2023 NCAA Division I football season.
The unique agreement combines the two conferences’ football membership to ensure NCAA championship access. It will provide the football member institutions a schedule of games against all the teams in their multisport conference and additional games against schools from the other conference. This new model for FCS football also creates more stability for the multisport conferences.
Details of the association’s overall structure and administration have been outlined and are expected to be finalized, along with the 2023 schedule, in the coming months.
Dr. J. Bradley Creed, Chair of the Big South Council of Football Members, Chair of the Council of Chief Executive Officers, and President of Campbell University, and Dr. David Glassman, President of Eastern Illinois University and Chair of the OVC Board of Presidents, made the announcement, expressing their enthusiasm for this distinctive structure.
“The Big South – Ohio Valley Conference football association will strengthen the efforts of both conferences to provide greater opportunities for our student-athletes,” stated Dr. Creed. “This move has the unanimous support of the CEOs of the football schools in the Big South Conference, and we look forward to enlarging and enlivening the field of competition for our teams. I commend President Glassman and his colleagues in the OVC for their role in establishing this collaboration.”
“The OVC is pleased to come together with the Big South to establish a new FCS football model, aimed at ensuring outstanding competition and championship access for our student-athletes,” said Dr. Glassman. “The world of intercollegiate athletics is changing, and all of the OVC members are looking forward to working with Dr. Creed and the rest of the Big South presidents to establish a new paradigm for FCS football across our region. In addition, we welcome the participation of other leagues interested in working together for the betterment of intercollegiate athletics.”
The presidents pointed particularly to the similarities of the OVC and the Big South, with their complementary geographies and intercollegiate athletic philosophies, as key to making this association possible. The association will have an initial term of at least four years.