Eastern Kentucky University won the Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner's Cup for the 2017-18 academic year, its fifth 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.
The Colonels claimed six OVC championships and finished second in three other sports in 2017-18.
It is Eastern’s fifth straight and sixth Commissioner's Cup in the last seven years. The award will be officially presented to university officials on Friday at the league's annual Honors Brunch in Nashville.
Eastern Kentucky finished the year with 118.5 points, four points better than second place Murray State (114.5). EKU was bolstered by first-place finishes in men's and women’s cross country, men’s indoor and outdoor track and field, women’s tennis and softball, and second-place finishes in soccer, men's golf and women’s indoor track and field.
“It was an outstanding year for many of our teams, and that is certainly evident by winning the Commissioner’s Cup,” EKU Director of Athletics Stephen Lochmueller said. “It is always an honor to bring the Cup home to Richmond. Our entire department and all of our student-athletes take great pride in winning. We value each of the six Commissioner’s Cups EKU has won the last seven years. We never become complacent – each of us will work just as hard in 2018-19 to be champions.”
Belmont (111.25) was third and followed by Jacksonville State (110), Austin Peay (101.5), Tennessee Tech (93.75), Eastern Illinois (91.75), Southeast Missouri (88.5), Morehead State (74.5), Southern Illinois Edwardsville (73), Tennessee-Martin (72.5) and Tennessee State (58.5).
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 SIU Edwardsville, 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).