Clarksville, TN – The Ohio Valley Conference has announced the addition of beach volleyball as the 19th-sponsored conference sport, with the league to hold its first championship in the event in 2020.
Austin Peay State University (APSU) is one of five full-time OVC institutions that currently field beach volleyball teams, along with Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State, Morehead State, and UT Martin. Chattanooga, which announced it would add beach volleyball for the upcoming 2020 season, will join the league as an affiliate member in beach volleyball to give the league six competing programs.
“Simply put, we are excited to return home to the Ohio Valley Conference,” said Austin Peay Director of Athletics Gerald Harrison.
“I would like to thank Commissioner Gumbart and the Atlantic Sun for welcoming us into their conference for this past season. Austin Peay Beach Volleyball belongs in the OVC, and we are overjoyed to compete for championships and an NCAA bid in our conference,” Harrison stated.
The Governors made waves in their third year of competition last season, earning an at-large bid and the No. 5 seed in the ASUN Beach Volleyball tournament – their first season in conference play. Austin Peay set a program record with 15 wins, including an impressive 10 victories on their home courts.
“We are looking forward to becoming the newest conference sport in the OVC,” said Governors head coach Taylor Mott. “We are grateful to the Atlantic Sun for welcoming us into their conference last season. But our ultimate goal was to gain a championship hosted by the OVC.”
The OVC will debut beach volleyball during the upcoming 2020 season with a schedule to be determined. Also, the league will hold a six-team conference tournament at a date and site to be determined. The OVC will become the fifth core Division I league to sponsor beach volleyball as a championship sport, joining the ASUN, Big West, Pac-12 and West Coast Conference.
The sport of beach volleyball debuted in 2012 as an NCAA emerging sport. It has grown rapidly with 75 teams at all divisions competing nationally at the end of the 2019 season.
The 2020 beach volleyball campaign begins in February with the 2020 NCAA National Collegiate Women’s Beach Volleyball Championship to be held May 1st-3rd in Gulf Shores, Alabama.