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Ohio Valley Conference Concludes 2012 Spring Meetings
The Ohio Valley Conference concluded its annual Conference Spring Meetings last Friday in Nashville. The event ran May 29 - June 1.
During the past school year the league organized an OVC Game Operations subcommittee that recommended the OVC Fan Code of Conduct that was adopted.
Items of business that highlighted the meeting included a basketball enhancement incentive plan, approval of access and seeding models for the OVC men’s and women’s basketball, softball and volleyball tournaments, the adoption of an OVC Fan Code of Conduct and a contract extension for the Commissioner.
The OVC Board of Presidents approved a basketball enhancement plan that was formulated by a sub-group that included athletic directors and coaches. The league will distribute revenue earned (up to $500,000) through victories in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship back to schools for use to enhance the sport of men’s basketball. OVC schools can earn the money based on (1) overall team RPI, (2) increase in number of Division I wins from the previous year (a 3-year rolling average), (3) Division I non-conference wins (3-year rolling average), (4) OVC Tournament or regular season championship in the past four years, (5) improvement in RPI (3-year rolling average) and (6) 40% of non-conference games being played at home or neutral sites. The initial funds are based on this year’s distribution and will be made available to schools at the end of this fiscal year (June 30).
The enhancement plan was put in place by the OVC Board of Presidents to help continue to grow the sport of men’s basketball, because the league has experienced unprecedented postseason success in the sport over the last four years. OVC men’s basketball teams have won a game in each of the last four NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournaments, the first time in Conference history that has occurred. The OVC is one of just nine Division I conferences to win at least one game in each of the last four years.
With the addition of Belmont University on July 1 and with SIUE gaining full Division I status and becoming eligible for postseason competition, the OVC will feature 12 schools in the sports of men’s and women’s basketball, softball and volleyball for the first time this coming year. The league announced in February its intention to use a divisional scheduling model for the sports that featured 12 member institutions. The East Division will include Belmont, Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State, Morehead State, Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech while the West Division will include Austin Peay, Eastern Illinois, Murray State, Southeast Missouri State, SIUE and UT Martin.
In the sports of men’s and women’s basketball, the top team in each division based on conference winning percentage automatically earns a berth into the OVC Basketball Championship. The next six teams with the highest conference winning percentage will also earn a bid, regardless of division. The No. 1 seed will go to the divisional winner with the top conference winning percentage, while the No. 2 seed will automatically go to the other divisional winner. The remaining six teams will be seeded 3-8 by conference winning percentage, regardless of division.
The bracketing format of the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments remains the same, a merit-based format that began with the 2011 championship. The top two seeds receive double byes to the semifinals while the No. 3 and 4 seeds receive a single bye to the quarterfinals. The 5-8 seeds matchup in the first round of the tournament. The 2013 OVC Basketball Tournament will be held March 6-9 at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn.
Both the softball and volleyball championships will expand from six to eight teams beginning this year. The top teams in each division will earn a berth in the tournament, with the next six teams with the highest conference winning percentage earning a spot in the field regardless of division. Different from the sport of basketball, both softball and volleyball will seed its championships 1-thru-8 based on conference winning percentage, regardless of division.
The bracket format for the softball and volleyball championships has not yet been finalized.
In 1995, the OVC implemented a first-of-its-kind “Sportsmanship Statement,” a policy promoting principles of fair play, ethical conduct and respect for one’s opponent for student-athletes, coaches and administrators. The league has continued to celebrate sportsmanship in the league by awarding annual team sportsmanship awards and an overall institutional sportsmanship award. Until now, however, no similar type of code/policy existed for fans attending OVC events. During the past school year the league organized an OVC Game Operations subcommittee that recommended the OVC Fan Code of Conduct that was adopted last week. The code asks fans to act in a responsible and courteous manner and when attending OVC contests refrain from (1) behavior that is unruly, disruptive or illegal in nature, (2) intoxication or other signs of alcohol impairments that results in irresponsible behavior, (3) vulgar, abusive, racist, demeaning or intimidating language or obscene gestures, (4) interference with the progress of the game (including throwing objects onto the playing surface, (5) verbal or physical harassment of opposing teams and their fans and (6) failing to follow instructions of stadium personnel. Fans that violate these provisions will be subject to removal from the contest site.
The OVC Board of Presidents also approved an extension to Commissioner Beth DeBauche’s contract. A four-year contract that runs through June 30, 2016 was approved; previous approvals of OVC Commissioner’s contracts were based on three-year periods. DeBauche was named the seventh full-time OVC Commissioner on July 29, 2009 and began her duties with the league in September 2009.
It was also announced that next year’s Chair of the Board of Presidents will be Dr. William Perry from Eastern Illinois University while the Chair of Board of Directors of Athletics for 2012-13 will be EIU’s Barbara Burke.
The week concluded on Friday with the League’s annual Honors Brunch, which honored the OVC Male and Female Athletes of the Year (Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan and Eastern Kentucky’s Lydia Kosgei), the Steve Hamilton Sportsmanship Award winner (Austin Peay’s Jon Clinard) and inducted former Eastern Illinois football coach Bob Spoo into the Conference’s Hall of Fame.
By Ohio Valley Conference Media Relations