The OVC has announced the addition of beach volleyball as the conference’s 19th-sponsored sport.
Beach volleyball will begin its first year of competition in 2019-20.
Five OVC institutions currently field beach volleyball teams: Austin Peay State University, Eastern Kentucky University, Jacksonville State University, Morehead State University, and UT Martin.
In addition, Chattanooga has accepted an invitation to join the conference as an affiliate member in beach volleyball, giving the OVC six beach volleyball programs.
The OVC’s inaugural beach volleyball season will debut in the spring of 2020. A six-team conference tournament also will take place at a date and site to be determined.
“Given the enthusiasm building around the sport of beach volleyball, we are excited to take this step and give our student-athletes a home in their primary conference,” said OVC Commissioner Beth DeBauche.
The sport of beach volleyball, which made its debut in 2012 as an NCAA emerging sport, had 75 teams competing nationally at the conclusion of last season. The Skyhawks wrapped up their second season as an independent member in 2019 under head coach Jaclynn Wilson.
Currently four other core Division I conferences sponsor beach volleyball as a championship sport: the Atlantic Sun, Big West, Pac-12 and West Coast Conferences.
The beach volleyball season begins in February with the 2020 Beach Volleyball National Championship being held May 1-3 in Gulf Shores, Alabama.