BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Eastern Kentucky University won the Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner’s Cup for the 2016-17 school year, its fourth consecutive all-sports title, the league office announced on Tuesday. The OVC Commissioner’s Cup is a symbol of overall athletic excellence in conference-sponsored championships.
It is the Colonels’ fourth-straight and fifth overall Commissioner’s Cup in the last six years. The award will be officially presented to university officials on Friday at the league’s annual Honors Brunch in Nashville.
“This is a tremendous honor for Eastern Kentucky University, its student-athletes and the coaching staffs,” EKU Director of Athletics Stephen Lochmueller said. “The Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner’s Cup is something we take great pride in winning. Having won four straight and five of the last six is a true symbol of the hard work and dedication that Colonel student-athletes continue to display on an annual basis.”
Eastern Kentucky finished the year with 106.75 points, edging second-place Murray State (106.5) and third-place Belmont University (106.375) by less than half a point. It marked the closest margin of victory under the nine-year old scoring system.
EKU was bolstered by first-place finishes in men’s and women’s cross country and a tie for first place in women’s soccer. The Colonels also received points for top-three finishes from five other sports: men’s golf (second), women’s golf (second), men’s tennis (tie for second), men’s indoor track and field (tie for second) and women’s tennis (third).
Jacksonville State finished fourth with 103.875 points, followed by Tennessee Tech (101.5), Eastern Illinois (93.5), Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (91.25), University of Tennessee at Martin (89), Southeast Missouri (84), Austin Peay (83.375), Morehead State (80) and Tennessee State (75.625).
Prior to the Commissioner’s Cup being instituted in 2008-09, the Colonels won an OVC-record 15 Men’s All-Sport Championships and seven Women’s All-Sport Championships.
The award (which started in 1962-63 for men’s sports and 1980-81 for women’s sports) was previously divided into a Men’s All-Sport Champion and a Women’s All-Sport Champion. Points were awarded for each of the 18 sponsored sports and each school was required to count its totals from each sport in its grand total.
Under the latest scoring system, schools are required to count point totals for four specific sports (football, volleyball, men’s basketball and women’s basketball) along with their next eight highest point totals from the remaining sports, regardless of gender. Belmont, Morehead State and SIUE, which do not compete in OVC football, count baseball as one of its four required sports.
The points system for scoring is as follows. For all sports (except rifle, men’s indoor and men’s outdoor track – which have fewer participating teams), the first place team earns 12 points, the second place team earns 11 points, etc. For rifle, men’s indoor and men’s outdoor track and field, the first-place team earns 12 points and subsequent point increments are calculated by dividing the total number of OVC member institutions by the number of institutions sponsoring the sport (for rifle that number is 2.4 less, for men’s indoor track that number is 2.0 less and for men’s outdoor track that number is 1.75 less). The scoring system also includes a bonus point for the winner of OVC Tournaments (soccer, volleyball, basketball, tennis, softball and baseball).