EKU Gets Call-Up to ASUN
A brief basketball lull between the three game set from last week and the big Monday game and a surprising lack of events from yesterday leads to an open Saturday. Swimming will be taking on Cincinnati a little later and Tennis will play host to Miami (OH) this afternoon, but Jeff will talk more about that tomorrow. We're due for an update on the basketball comparison, which I'll get to another time.
Today, though, there is exciting news to report about a Louisville-adjacent program, though it doesn't directly affect the Cards. Like last year, a Kentucky school has announced their advancement to Division-I's Atlantic Sun Conference. The Colonels of Eastern Kentucky University announced (accidentally at first, but officially yesterday) that they'd be leaving the Ohio Valley Conference to join the ASUN beginning in July of 2021. Interestingly, their football team will temporarily join the WAC for the 2021 season before returning to ASUN play in 2022. All other sports will participate in ASUN competition in the 2021-22 seasons.
Interestingly, this appears to be a lateral move for the schools--Jacksonville State is making the same move--as the conferences are both Division I in all sports and compete at the FCS level in football (ASUN will when it begins sponsoring football anyway). The ASUN does bring a bit more prestige to the table, especially when considered as a basketball conference, but that is about it. That said, more prestige usually means more money, and universities are always looking for that.
A side effect of this move is that the Ohio Valley Conference could be in trouble. EKU's departure leaves Morehead State and Murray State as the sole remaining founding members, and gives the conference just seven football competing members. Morehead State offers football, but does not offer scholarships, so it competes in a separate conference for that sport. The OVC has been around for quite a long time and has had a lot of history in the state of Kentucky especially. It would be a shame to see something happen to it.
Positively, though, this move the ASUN means more competition between EKU and Bellarmine, and we here at Cardinal Couple are big fans of both schools, particularly in women's basketball. The step up in conference prestige and competition will mean more opportunities for success for Sam Williams at EKU, and who doesn't want to see a local school like Bellarmine get to compete against more regional programs around the state for more than just a "buy" game?
We're looking forward to seeing EKU continue to give Louisville quality local competition in all sports, just with a different patch on the chest from now on.
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour
Once again, it was a busy week in basketball, so we have plenty to keep us occupied for this week's show. It'll be a full house again, so be sure to tune in to hear how wrong we were about our predictions for this week and join us in getting our predictions wildly wrong for next week's matchup against NC State. The show begins at 11AM EST and you can join us live on the Cardinal Couple YouTube Channel or check out the recorded version following the end of the live stream. As always, you can subscribe to the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour by searching for it in your favorite podcast player to hear the weekly episodes as soon as they're posted.
Until next time, Go Cards!