Eastern Kentucky University has won the Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner’s Cup for the 2015-16 school year, 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’ third-straight and fourth overall Commissioner’s Cup title in the last five years. The award will be officially presented to university officials on June 3 at the league’s annual Honors Brunch in Nashville.
“Eastern Kentucky University, its student-athletes and its coaches take great pride in winning the Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner’s Cup,” EKU Director of Athletics Stephen Lochmueller said. “We are very proud to have been recognized as the top athletics department in the conference four of the last five years. This is truly a symbol of the hard work and dedication that Colonel student-athletes put into their teams each year.”
Eastern Kentucky finished the year with 116.5 points, edging second-place Eastern Illinois (115.25) by just over a point; that marked the closest margin of victory under the eight-year old scoring system (besting a 1.5 margin by EIU over two schools in 2010-11).
EKU was bolstered by first-place finishes in men’s and women’s cross country and women’s golf. The Colonels also received top-four regular season finishes from 10 other sports: men’s tennis (second), softball (second), women’s indoor track (third), women’s tennis (third), football (fourth), men’s golf (fourth), men’s indoor track (fourth), men’s outdoor track (fourth) and women’s basketball (fourth).
Murray State finished third with 103 points, followed by Jacksonville State (97), Southeast Missouri (95), Tennessee Tech (93.5), Belmont (93.25), Morehead State (90.5), UT Martin (88.5), Austin Peay and Tennessee State (82.5) and SIUE (80).
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 main 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).