Belmont Vision – Belmont athletics set to move to Missouri Valley Conference after nine years with OVC

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Belmont University will likely leave the Ohio Valley Conference to join the Missouri Valley Conference next season, according to an Extra Points report.

President Greg Jones is expected to announce the move on Tuesday morning, alongside Vice President, Sports Director Scott Corley.

The change would mark the conference’s second realignment in recent years for Belmont’s track and field after the university severed ties with the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2012 to join the OVC.

Belmont’s strong basketball programs could be behind this move in an effort to increase the competitiveness and visibility of both men’s and women’s teams.

In the 2020-21 season, Belmont’s basketball ranked # 1 in the OVC and # 90 of 347 Division I contenders in total, according to ESPN’s College Basketball Power Index.

Belmont’s men’s team have won at least 20 wins in the past 11 straight seasons and have appeared in five NCAA tournaments during that time. The women’s team has also run five runs in the NCAA since 2016, even shaking the No.5 seed from Gonzaga University in the 2021 tournament.

Belmont is said to be the only university representing Tennessee in the MVC, which is made up of schools in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Missouri. The Bruins would face players like Loyola University Chicago, Drake University and Missouri State University, to name a few.

Of the MVC schools on ESPN’s College Basketball Power Index, Belmont is only outscored by No.15 Loyola and No.66 Drake.

By making the switch, Belmont’s men’s football program would also take a place in the MVC instead of being the only team in the Southern Conference.

Of all the teams at the university, only men’s tennis would not have its place in the MVC. It is not known which opponents the men’s team will face on the tennis court in the future.

Belmont would follow Austin Peay and Jacksonville State University in leaving the OVC for a new conference and is the fourth university this year to do so. The loss of these programs places the OVC in eight member schools.

At the time of posting, Belmont Athletics was not available for comment.

Jones and Corely are expected to provide more details on Tuesday in an announcement at 10 a.m. at the Curb Event Center in Belmont.

PHOTO: Bruins in a game against OVC opponent Murray State in the 2020-21 season. Photo courtesy of Tyra Finkeldey.

This article was written by Sarah Maninger and AJ Wuest. Contributing reporting by Jessica Mattsson and Anna Jackson.

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