Message from President David T. McFaddin - January 29, 2021
Dear Campus Community,
This is a historic day at Eastern Kentucky University. We are charting a new course that will give us an opportunity to grow our brand, expand our student recruiting base and align with an athletic conference that brings us closer to our large alumni network. As the School of Opportunity, we are making this transition to tell the EKU story to a larger, more diverse audience than ever before.
Beginning on July 1, 2021, Eastern Kentucky University will join the ASUN Conference. We will join fellow Ohio Valley Conference member Jacksonville State, new football rival Central Arkansas, and our new in-state rival Bellarmine University in the exciting, growing conference. We will play all 16 of our varsity sports in the ASUN. This move will create a new Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) league along with Kennesaw State, North Alabama, Central Arkansas and Jacksonville State, with the hopes of adding others. This shift instantly elevates our program.
We will also be able to meet more of our alumni, and our potential students, where they are. With nearly 100,000 EKU alumni living in the ASUN footprint, this move puts the EKU brand into larger markets and destination cities all over the south. Our students, student-athletes, coaches, staff, alumni, fans, supporters, partners and prospective students should know we are confident that membership in the ASUN Conference will benefit all involved as we create new and exciting rivalries while striving to protect existing ones. This move makes the EKU Colonels more visible in a promising recruiting footprint, gives alumni who live in warmer climates an opportunity to see the Colonels compete in person, and allows us to introduce ourselves to future Colonels in a growing part of the country.
Most importantly, we have made this move because we are a student-focused institution. Joining the ASUN not only raises the bar of athletic competition for our student-athletes, but also raises the academic bar for them. Success is defined both in athletic competition and in the classroom. Our students will always be our first priority. The ASUN is a conference committed to academic excellence and student success, which aligns strongly with our values as a University. Last year, nearly 2,000 ASUN student-athletes were on the ASUN Honor Roll with a 3.0 GPA or greater. Additionally, during its last full year of competition (2018-19), the ASUN enjoyed its most successful postseason in on-the-field competition with 19 postseason wins. Similarly, for 18 consecutive semesters, EKU student-athletes have earned a 3.0 or greater GPA. In six of the last eight years EKU has won the Commissioner’s Cup, setting the standard for comprehensive athletic performance. Institutionally, we have achieved record-breaking retention and graduation rates, made strategic investments in our facilities, all while focusing on outstanding instruction by our world-class faculty. This level of performance is exactly why we expect to win at everything we do at EKU. This transition comes with a focus on providing continued opportunity for EKU, building on a strong foundation of academic and institutional success, and with great thought and attention to fiscal responsibility. We expect to fit in perfectly in the ASUN as a like-minded institution, as we did in 1948 when we formed the OVC.
The ASUN is an athletic conference on the RISE, and we look forward to future announcements and the positive impact membership will have on EKU.
Thank you, and Go Big E!
Published on January 29, 2021