Belmont is latest to join OVC fold

Belmont is latest to join OVC fold
 BRENTWOOD — The Ohio Valley Conference announced this morning that Belmont University has been admitted to the conference and will become the league’s 12th member.
The move was approved by  the OVC Board of Presidents.
Belmont will officially become a member of the OVC on July 1, 2012 and its athletic teams will begin competing in the Conference in the 2012-13 season.
“Given Belmont Univer-sity’s commitment to excellence, both in the classroom and on the playing fields,  they are a wonderful fit for the Ohio Valley Conference,” said Beth DeBauche, OVC commissioner. “I am  delighted to welcome them to the Conference. They are a wonderful addition and the right fit for the  OVC.”
“The addition of Belmont University adds great value to our already stable and healthy conference,” said  Dr. Thomas Rakes, University of Tennessee at Martin chancellor and current chair of the OVC Board of  Presidents.  
With a total enrollment of 5,936 (and an expected enrollment of over 6,000 in the fall of 2011), Belmont is  located in Nashville. Belmont’s campus is just nine miles north of the OVC’s Brentwood headquarters.
“The Ohio Valley Conference is one of the most tradition-rich and respected athletic conferences in NCAA  Division I,” said Dr. Robert C. Fisher, Belmont University president. “We were honored by the invitation to  join such a great family of fine universities and look forward to establishing new traditions and new  friendships.”
“This is an exciting day for Belmont University and our athletic program as a whole,” Belmont University  Director of Athletics Mike Strickland said. “Membership in the OVC offers our student-athletes and alumni  numerous opportunities and advantages, and we look forward to forging these new relationships.”
Belmont competes in 17 sports (eight men’s sports and nine women’s sports), 16 of which will compete in the  OVC (the exception being men’s soccer which is not sponsored by the OVC).
The Bruins have competed  in the Atlantic Sun Conference since 2001-02 and will compete in its final year in that league in 2011-12  before joining the OVC.
Since 2001-02, Belmont has won 30 Atlantic Sun Championships, the second  most in the conference. Bruins athletic teams have made recent NCAA Tournament appearances in  men’s and women’s basketball, women’s soccer, men’s tennis and volleyball. The men’s basketball program has made four NCAA Tournament appearances in the past six seasons, including finishing 30-5 (one of nine Division I teams with at least 30 wins) and earning a No. 13 seed in the NCAA Tournament in 2010-11.
The Bruins men’s and women’s cross country squads have combined for 13 conference  championships and 25 All-South Region runners since 2001.
Academically, Belmont has won the Atlantic Sun Conference All-Academic Trophy in seven of the nine  years it has been a member of the league; the trophy is given to the institution with the greatest  percentage of student-athletes with a G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher. In addition, 46 student-athletes have earned  Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District honors and seven athletic teams have reported single-season

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