INDIANAPOLIS — The Horizon League and the Ohio Valley Conference today announced a partnership between their men’s tennis member institutions beginning with the 2022-23 college year.
The innovative and groundbreaking partnership in Division I athletics combines male tennis members from both conferences to secure NCAA Championship access under the Horizon League competition umbrella. It will provide member institutions in men’s tennis with a full lineup of conference play, a conference championship experience at the Horizon League Championship, and the opportunity for NCAA rule-eligible teams to earn an automatic NCAA Championship qualification offer. .
“We are excited about this innovative collaboration with the Ohio Valley Conference to secure the long-term future of the Horizon League Men’s Tennis Championship and our automatic qualification for the NCAA Championship,” said League Commissioner Julie Roe Lach. Horizon. “A special thank you to Commissioner DeBauche and the OVC Athletic Directors for their creative work towards a win-win for our team men’s tennis programs. We would also like to welcome Chicago State as an Affiliate Member for men’s and women’s tennis.”
“The changing landscape of intercollegiate athletics demands that we be open to identifying new and creative ways to provide our student-athletes with exceptional competitive opportunities,” said OVC Commissioner Beth DeBauche. “The OVC Programs and Belmont University are thrilled to join the Horizon League Programs and grateful to Commissioner Roe Lach and the Horizon League Directors of Athletics for their willingness to collaborate and embrace a new model of partnership that exemplifies how two like-minded conferences can work together to help provide opportunities for student-athletes, strengthen the sport of men’s tennis and maintain regional competition.”
The partnership also includes the addition of Belmont (Missouri Valley Conference) and Chicago State (independent) as affiliate programs. With these additions, the League will have a total of 11 men’s tennis teams split into two divisions. The Northern Division will include Chicago State, Cleveland State, IUPUI, Northern Kentucky, and Youngstown State, while the Southern Division will include Belmont, Eastern Illinois, Lindenwood, Southern Indiana, Tennessee State and Tennessee Tech.
Final conference times and championship format will be announced at a later date.
ABOUT HORIZON LEAGUE
The Horizon League is an NCAA Division I athletics conference comprised of 11 member institutions located in major metropolitan cities throughout the Midwest. Based in Indianapolis, the League and its members strive to be highly competitive athletically while committed to the total development of its student-athletes and creating lasting impact on campus and in the community. For more information, visit HorizonLeague.com.
The Ohio Valley Conference, which celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2022-23, was founded in 1948, making it the eighth oldest Division I athletic conference. Over the years, teams in the OVC have won national championships in football as well as national team or individual titles in the sports of rifle, cross country, track and field, and golf. In the 1950s, the OVC became a pioneer when Morehead State became one of the first non-traditionally black institutions in the South Central to accept an African American student. Shortly after the passage of Title IX legislation, the OVC began formulating plans for women’s athletics which began in 1977. The OVC has long been a national leader in sportsmanship and in 1995 implemented a fair play statement, the first of its kind, a policy that promotes the principles of fair play, ethical conduct and respect for the opponent. For more information, visit www.OVCSports.com.