Move in the Making?

Story by Bryan Edwards, Sports Editor

Amidst many rumors on social media, the Murray State Board of Regents met today to discuss a potential change of conference in the coming future.

The board unanimously approved a motion that will allow the university to welcome offers from other conferences for a potential move. All offers will be discussed by the board moving forward.

Director of Athletics Allen Ward said he wanted to make sure he didn’t make any further moves without notifying the university.

“I believe the university needed to be updated with the issue,” Ward said. “Their support of this process is very important for us at this point.”

Murray State was a founding member of the Ohio Valley Conference in 1948 along with Morehead State, Eastern Kentucky, Evansville, Western Kentucky and Louisville.

Although analysts around the country believe the Racers will be moving to the Missouri Valley Conference if they choose to do so, Ward said there are many conferences that are potentially looking to add the Racers to their field.

“I can’t comment on which specific conferences had reached out to us,” Ward said. “There are a few of them out there. That speaks a lot about our program, and out of respect for the process, I won’t comment about any single conference.”

The Missouri Valley Conference recently said goodbye to Wichita State, who moved from the MVC to the American Athletic Conference over the offseason. According to CBS, Other teams rumored to be in consideration for the move to the MVC are fellow OVC members Belmont, Valparaiso and Saint Louis.

Murray State President Bob Davies said athletics is an integral part of the school community and will consider the option to change conferences.

“We have an amazing opportunity to further our investment into collegiate athletics, enrollment, fundraising and alumni development and as an academic institution by pairing ourselves with similar peers,” Davies said during the meeting. “As we think of this, we need to see how we can best enhance these opportunities.”

Davies also said Murray State has a lot to offer the other conferences in the NCAA.

“We have a lot of things that could bring interest from other conferences, and we also have a lot to gain,” Davies said. “We are at the time in the history of our university where we could be afforded an opportunity that can move our institution forward in many ways over a period of time.”

During their tenure in the OVC, the Racers have won multiple OVC Championships across all sports and have represented the OVC in the NCAA Tournament. Throughout the 2016-17 academic year, the Racers have won four OVC Championships and have the potential to build on that number before the year closes.

Davies did not specify any sports that could be candidates for the move. He said all are important in the process as he gave his closing statements at the meeting.

If Murray State decides to exit the OVC right away, the university will have to pay $1 million.

Ward made a statement before the vote was made and said the process is still unfolding.

“We have been strategic and want to be respectful to those that are also looking for potential moves and for our conference,” Ward said. “These are exciting times, and I think it says a lot about Murray State, and we are doing everything we can to put ourselves into position to make a move.”