LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - With a click of the mouse on Wednesday morning, Bellarmine officially became a member of the ASUN Conference and made the leap to NCAA Division I.
“ASUN is a conference that is more a national conference than our previous conference. We’ll be in the south, we’ll be in Virginia, we’ll be in urban areas,” Bellarmine University president Susan Donovan said.
Bellarmine athletic director Scott Weigandt is fully invested in Knights nation. A former Bellarmine athlete, he knows the long road that the private Catholic university had to navigate to get to today.
“We in the athletics department stand on the shoulders of our predecessors, Jim Spalding’s and David O’Toole’s and Marilyn Staples and Eddie Weber and Joe Reibel’s and those people that did the work to allow us to be in a position to do this,” Weigandt said.
Scotty Davenport is the head coach of the Knights men’s basketball program. His 2010-11 team won the NCAA Division II National Championship and now his program will be an essential player in making this transition successful.
“I’ve said, as long as I’ve been a coach, whenever something great happens with your basketball program, your university, your school benefits,” Davenport said. “Well it works both ways. Everything that’s great that happens for Bellarmine University will be great for Bellarmine basketball. When you look at the new floor and it’s got Louisville, Kentucky, and it’s got Bellarmine on it, we’ll that’s the branding.”
The next big announcement will be the schedule for Davenport’s team in year one. Those guaranteed pay days will be a financial driver for the entire athletic program.
“We’ll release the schedule within a week or two and we’re just crossing t’s, dotting i’s, because this schedule is the key component in the plan, because the schedule, from day one, is going to establish credibility, with fans, with recruits, with alumni, they’re going to say, boy they are serious,” he said.
Bellarmine begins a four-year transition period. Athletic teams will not be eligible for NCAA Championship events until the 2024-25 academic year.