Could we see another NCAA Division I program in the Cincinnati area? If Northern Kentucky plans everything right, they might be marching into the biggest field of college sports. That’s right, the Norse are planning to invade your brackets by 2015.
Northern Kentucky is just south of Interstate 471, which connects I-71 in Cincinnati to I-275 near Wilder, Kentucky (where the Cincinnati Kings outdoor soccer team plays [which might be a topic on my blog soon.]) From what I heard, it’s one of the best soccer programs in the nation and is also home to an excellent softball team that went 55-2 a few seasons ago.
From the NKU Beta site, the talks to bump up a division have existed since 1995.
Just as a little bit of history of Northern Kentucky: the university was born in 1968 as Northern Kentucky State College. The university changed names in 1976. Sports have been a part of the university since 1971. The first game was a basketball game against Calvary College, which was a 109-65 victory for the Norsemen. Several programs would be born during this time, including the women’s soccer program in 1997. The Bank of Kentucky Center opened in 2008 with an exhibition match against the Louisville Cardinals.
While the plans are to eventually move up to Division I, where would NKU play in terms of a conference? Going back to the first link, the two ideas floating around are the Horizon League and the Ohio Valley Conference. With the Ohio Valley Conference, you have three schools already in Kentucky (Morehead State, Murray State, and Eastern Kentucky.) The Horizon League would be making their debut in Kentucky if NKU was accepted, but would also add a Cincinnati school to the league for the first time since Xavier was in the league before 1996.
The rumor of NKU joining the Horizon League has been swirling around, but most people disagree that it would be a natural fit. Coming from Wright State, I can tell you having an even amount of teams is a nice thing. However, not all schools have every sport in the league. So either you add another school to make basketball have even teams (which could be an interesting topic to talk about later) or deal with an odd number of teams for basketball and even out the rest of the sports.
While the new venues are nice at NKU, is it enough to jump to the top division in the NCAA? Only time will tell.
Source of information from Northern Kentucky’s website and WXIX FOX 19 Cincinnati.
Until next time,