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Lindenwood, which has men's and women's wrestling, announces transition to NCAA Division I

by Lindenwood Athletics

St. Charles, Mo. - On Wednesday, Lindenwood University officially accepted an invitation to join the Ohio Valley Conference starting in the fall of 2022.

Lindenwood, which sponsors all 18 of the OVC's championship sports, will become official members on July 1, 2022. Lindenwood marks only the 24th full-time member in the 74-year history of the Ohio Valley Conference.

The Ohio Valley Conference is adding Lindenwood as the 10th full-time member for the 2022-23 school year. Lindenwood will join 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.

"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 is set to begin its reclassification process to the NCAA Division I level during the 2022-23 academic year. The Lions will be included in OVC regular season schedules and be eligible to compete in OVC Championships. Eligibility for Lindenwood to earn automatic bids to NCAA Championships begins 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."

Lindenwood became a full NCAA Division II member during the 2013-14 school year. As one of the largest athletic departments in the country, Lindenwood supports 29 sports at the NCAA level. With a student-athlete population exceeding 1,400 at Lindenwood, more than 700 compete in an NCAA sport. Lindenwood has an overall enrollment of just north of 7,000 students from all across the world.

Since joining the NCAA, Lindenwood has won four National Championships, with the most recent being the 2021 Women's Lacrosse team. In 2017, Lindenwood 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, 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.

Lindenwood has been the site of many significant events during its time in the NCAA. The Lions will are set to host the 2022 NCAA Division II Women's Lacrosse National Championship in May. Lindenwood has put on numerous regional championships at three different facilities on campus. Lindenwood was selected to host the 2020 NCAA Division II National Championship Festival, which would have featured five national championship, but was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"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."

Founded in 1948, the OVC is headquartered in Brentwood, Tenn. and been located in the Nashville metropolitan area since 1979.

Over the past seven years OVC teams have placed multiple teams in NCAA Championship fields in baseball, men's basketball, football and rifle. Additionally, over that time frame OVC teams have won NCAA Tournament games in the sports of baseball, men's basketball, women's basketball, football, soccer, softball and volleyball. Over that period the league has also had both a male and female golf student-athlete advance to the National Championship and in the sport of cross country had at least one athlete advance to the National Championship meet in each of the past 13 years.

Since 2018 the league has hosted its Men's and Women's Basketball Championship at the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana, including setting attendance records in 2019. Additionally, the OVC hosts neutral site championships in the sports of baseball, softball, men's and women's indoor track and field, men's and women's golf and men's and women's tennis. During the 2020-21 academic year, a record 1,718 student-athletes were named to the Commissioner's Honor Roll for achieving a 3.25 grade point average or higher, while a record 356 earned the OVC Academic Medal of Honor for compiling a perfect 4.0 GPA.

About the Ohio Valley Conference

The Ohio Valley Conference was founded in 1948 and is in its seventh decade of competition, making it the eighth-oldest Division I athletic conference. Now in its 74th year, OVC teams have garnered national championships in football along with national team or individual titles in the sports of rifle, cross country, track and golf. Over the past seven years the league has placed multiple teams in NCAA Championship fields in the sports baseball, men's basketball, football and rifle. In the 1950s the OVC became a pioneer when Morehead State became one of the first non-traditionally Black mid-southern institutions to accept an African American student. Soon after the passing of Title IX legislation, the OVC began formulating plans for women's athletics which began in 1977. The OVC has long been a national leader in sportsmanship and in 1995 implemented a first-of-its-kind Sportsmanship Statement, a policy that promotes principals of fair play, ethical conduct and respect for one's opponent. The OVC has a multi-year media rights agreement with ESPN and well as a sponsorship agreement with LEARFIELD. For more information, visit