Lindenwood University announces move to NCAA Division I


Photo by Selena Tuilaepa

President John Porter (left), Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner Beth DeBauche (center), and Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Brad Wachler pose after the university announced its move to Division I and the Ohio Valley Conference. The press conference took place at Hyland Arena on Feb. 23.

Jake Deane, Reporter

Lindenwood University has announced its plans to join the Ohio Valley Conference.

In an email sent to Lindenwood students, President John Porter stated that the Board of Trustees for the university voted unanimously in support of a transition to Division I athletics. The transition process is expected to take four years, but teams will begin competing in the Ohio Valley Conference starting next year for the 2022-23 season.

President Porter said that the Ohio Valley Conference reached out to the university to gauge their interest in a possible move to Division I athletics. The university then hired a consultant to perform an external study on the financial viability of a possible move. The consultant determined that it would be financially beneficial to the university to make this transition.

“A move to NCAA Division I athletics enhances our Lindenwood University community in many ways and aligns with our strategic plan– it will drive enrollment, raise university visibility and make Lindenwood a desired location for improved community engagement to name a few benefits,” Porter said in the email.

Lindenwood has been competing at the NCAA Division II level since July of 2010. Lindenwood joined their current conference, Great Lakes Valley Conference, in 2019. This move will allow Lindenwood to be the only Division I football team in the St. Louis metro area, as Division I Saint Louis University has not fielded a football team since 1949.

Current members of the Ohio Valley Conference include Eastern Illinois University, Morehead State University, Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO), Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE), Tennessee State University, Tennessee Technological University, and the University of Tennessee at Martin.

The Ohio Valley Conference is losing three schools this year: Austin Peay State, Murray State, and Belmont. Joining the conference along with Lindenwood are the programs of Little Rock and Southern Indiana.

For more information and to read the official announcement, visit this link.