OVC Spring Meetings bring forth multiple changes

Story by Nick Kendall

Contributing writer

nkendall1@murraystate.edu

The Ohio Valley Conference concluded its annual Conference Spring Meetings last Friday in Nashville. The event ran May 28 through May 31.

After two amazing seasons from Murray State and Belmont, the OVC Board of Presidents supported a motion to establish a working group comprised of Presidents and Directors of Athletics that will be tasked with developing recommendations to build on the success in men’s basketball.

The Board of Presidents also supported a motion to allow the Conference Office to use funds to provide a professional development opportunity for women’s basketball to help grow the sport.

Being mindful of student-athlete time demands, the OVC Council of Directors of Athletics approved a motion from the men’s basketball coaches to require Saturday basketball games to begin prior to 4 p.m. local time if the visiting team must travel more than three and a half hours back to campus afterwards.

The OVC Council of Directors of Athletics also approved fee increases for officials in the sports of football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball.

The group attended educational sessions focused on student-athlete well-being, including a mental health session with Mari Ross-Alexander of Ross Behavioral Group, and a student-athlete development session with Dr. Becky Ahlgren-Bedics of Ahlgren Bedics Consulting, LLC. Dr. Bedics has provided comprehensive leadership programming for OVC schools for the past six years, making the OVC the only Division I conference to sponsor such an initiative.

The 2020 and 2021 OVC Softball Championships will continue be held at Choccolocco Park in Oxford, Alabama.

The Board of Presidents approved an extension to Commissioner  Beth DeBauche’s contract which is now a five-year rolling contract that runs from the 2024-25 academic year.

The conference also announced that next year’s Chair of the Board of Presidents will be Tennessee State’s Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover, while the Chair of the Council of Directors of Athletics for 2019-20 with be Tennessee Tech Director of Athletics Mark Wilson.

Eastern Kentucky President Dr. Michael Benson will assume the OVC’s spot on the NCAA’s Division I Presidential Forum. That spot had previously been held by Tennessee Tech President Dr. Philip Oldham who will join the Division I Board of Directors. The 24-member Board serves as the overall governing body for Division I, with responsibility for strategy, policy, legislative oversight and management oversight.

The week concluded with the League’s annual Honors Brunch, which honored the OVC Male and Female Athletes of the Year (Murray State’s Ja Morant and Belmont’s Darby Maggard), the Steve Hamilton Sportsmanship Award winner (Jacksonville State’s Josh Pearson).

Former Southeast Missouri State President Dr. Kenneth W. Dobbins, former Eastern Kentucky cross country and track & field coach Rick Erdmann and former Austin Peay coach and administrator Cheryl Holt were inducted into the Conference’s Hall of Fame.