Govs set to join ASUN beginning in 2022
CLARKSVILLE—Austin Peay State University, in a move ratified by its Board of Trustees, announced an official move to the ASUN Conference beginning with the 2022-23 athletics season, with the conference quickly accepting the Governors as its full 13th member.
The Governors move to the ASUN after being members of the Ohio Valley Conference since 1962, during which time Austin Peay won 69 league titles—including 21 since 2010. All 17 of Austin Peay’s intercollegiate athletic programs will move to the ASUN and upon joining the league will be immediately eligible for conference awards, postseason play and NCAA Tournament automatic berths.
Now the Govs are on the move, into an ASUN committed to becoming the next great FCS football conference. Beginning in Fall 2022, the Govs will be joined by football-playing members Central Arkansas, Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State, Kennesaw State and North Alabama—cementing the league with the necessary six members to guarantee an automatic bid to the FCS Playoffs. In addition to the football-playing members of the league, the Govs will regularly meet Bellarmine, Florida Gulf Coast, Jacksonville, Liberty, Lipscomb, North Florida and Stetson in league competition.
“I am excited to take this next step for the university and our athletics department,” said Austin Peay President Dr. Michael Licari. “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.”
During its last full year of competition (2018-19), the ASUN enjoyed its most successful postseason with 19 postseason wins. In addition, ASUN student-athletes have excelled academically. More than 70 percent of ASUN student-athletes earned a year-long 3.0 GPA each of the past three years. Those levels of success align perfectly with Austin Peay Director of Athletics Gerald Harrison’s belief in the Total Gov Concept.
“This is an incredible day for our University, our athletes and coaches, and all citizens of Stacheville,” Harrison said. “I could not be more excited to help lead Austin Peay into a new era of growth, which will help expand and enhance our brand, our footprint and the quality of our product both athletically and academically. 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.
“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.”
The ASUN will be in its 44th season when Austin Peay begins play in Fall 2022. The ASUN is now the 15th NCAA Division I conference to sponsor FCS football. The addition of football brought the total number of ASUN sponsored sports to 20.
This move will exponentially increase Austin Peay’s market share. There are more than 10,000,000 television homes within the ASUN’s seven-state footprint, with member institutions nestled inside seven of the area’s top-10 regional TV markets. Additionally, states within the ASUN footprint have experienced tremendous population growth in recent years, at a growth rate of more than five percent over the last decade.
According to a recent study, there are more than 45,000 Austin Peay alumni living in and around the current ASUN footprint, furthering Austin Peay’s ambitions to regularly and consistently visit those markets, the majority of which comprise major metropolitan areas around the southeastern United States, to connect with Governors past and future living in these locales.
“Austin Peay brings a tradition of success and a recognized brand that speaks to overall institutional achievement,” ASUN Commissioner Ted Gumbart said. “The entire Clarksville area is growing and APSU is central to that dynamic. The Governors carry an institutional reputation of academic and athletic success that we are extremely proud to add to the ASUN. President Licari and Director of Athletics Harrison provide outstanding leadership to the university and its athletics program, and we value their vision for Austin Peay’s continued growth and success. The ASUN will provide a tremendous home for Austin Peay, and our entire membership will benefit from having APSU as an ASUN member. This is a perfect example of a win-win partnership.”
Austin Peay will officially complete the move to the ASUN on July 1, 2022.