Lindenwood University has accepted an invitation to join the Ohio Valley Conference.
Lindenwood, which sponsors 18 of the OVC’s championship sports, will become official members on July 1, 2022.
They will join the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Eastern Illinois University, Morehead State University, Southeast Missouri State University, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, University of Southern Indiana, Tennessee State University, Tennessee Technological University and the University of Tennessee at Martin as OVC full member institutions.
Lindenwood, which is located in St. Charles, Missouri, marks only the 24th full-time member in the 74-year history of the Ohio Valley Conference.
“We are delighted to add Lindenwood University as the 10th member of the OVC for the 2022-23 academic year,” said OVC Commissioner Beth DeBauche. “President Porter’s vision for the future of the institution, along with Lindenwood’s commitment to success, its geographic alignment with the OVC and its sports offerings, including football, and our shared philosophy and values make them a great fit for the Conference. We are excited to welcome Lindenwood to our OVC community.”
Lindenwood, which currently competes at the NCAA Division II level, will begin its reclassification process to the NCAA Division I level during the 2022-23 academic year, when they will be included in OVC regular season schedules and be eligible to compete in OVC Championships. Lindenwood will be eligible to earn automatic bids to NCAA Championships beginning in 2026-27, its first full season of full Division I membership.
“Lindenwood is thrilled to join the Ohio Valley Conference as we apply to transition to NCAA Division I. This opportunity will elevate our entire university and provide championship-level experiences our student athletes deserve,” Lindenwood President Dr. John Porter said. “A move to NCAA Division I athletics and membership in the OVC enhances our Lindenwood University community in many ways and aligns with our strategic plan– it will drive enrollment, enhance university visibility, and generate revenue. We are eager to begin competition at this next level and look forward to welcoming OVC member schools to our campus beginning this fall.”
Since joining the NCAA, Lindenwood has won four National Championships and in 2017, ranked sixth in the NCAA Directors’ Cup, which included five team conference titles. In the NCAA era, Lindenwood has claimed three regional championships, 31 conference titles (including football titles in 2019 and 2021), and eight conference tournament championships. Lindenwood has garnered 13 individual national champions at the NCAA level. In addition to the individual achievement, six student-athlete have earned the NCAA Elite 90 Award for academic and athletic success throughout the season. Lindenwood’s NCAA sport programs have combined for a 3.0 GPA or higher since the start of the 2013-14 school year.
“Today is an exciting day in the history of Lindenwood University,” said Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Brad Wachler. “Over the last 10 years at the NCAA Division II level, we were fortunate to find great success on and off the field of play. We are now prepared more than ever to make the transition to the highest level of college sports. We are thankful for the Ohio Valley Conference’s partnership and look forward to working together to elevate the student-athlete experience.”