Austin Peay’s football team hoists the 2019 Ohio Valley Conference football championship. | THE ALL STATE ARCHIVES

After spending the past 59 years in the Ohio Valley Conference, Austin Peay is making the jump to the ASUN.

Director of Athletics Gerald Harrison and university President Michael Licari formally announced Friday, Sept. 17 that all sports will join the conference effective July 1, 2022.

“I am excited to take this next step for the university and our athletics department,” Licari said in a statement. “The ASUN Conference will help us showcase all of the great things we’re doing athletically and academically. The ASUN will put us in new markets that will boost our recruiting ability and allow us to better engage our passionate alumni base.

“This is a move to position our university well both now and in the future.”

APSU joins former OVC members Eastern Kentucky and Jacksonville State, who parted ways with the conference last year.

Other members of the ASUN include Bellarmine, Central Arkansas, Florida Gulf Coast, Jacksonville, Kennesaw State, Liberty, Lipscomb, North Alabama, North Florida and Stetson. Lipscomb is the lone affiliate located in the state of Tennessee.

Formerly known as the Atlantic Sun, the ASUN sponsors a total of 20 sports and currently partners with the Western Athletic Conference for football. They will begin sponsoring the sport at the Division I FCS level in 2022.

Notably, the Governors football program holds a losing record all time against four of its five future foes: Central Arkansas, Eastern Kentucky, North Alabama and Jacksonville State have won 82 of their 105 meetings against APSU.  

“As challenging as this opportunity is — and make no mistake, we are facing a step up in competition level — it’s even more exciting to embark on this journey to elevate the profile of this department,” Harrison said. “From the beginning, I’ve said Austin Peay is a sleeping giant, a juggernaut hiding in plain sight with the right people in place to become great.

“Today is the next step down the path to greatness, and we are closer than ever to achieving the status we covet — to be the most complete athletics department in our league. And now, that league will be the ASUN.”