Bellarmine University: five things to know about UNF’s newest conference rival

John Watson, Sports Editor

From the depths of Kentucky comes a new challenger in the ASUN conference never seen before. Entering the Division I coliseum for the first time in its history, Bellarmine University looks to shake up the playing field and prove they belong here with their new opportunity.

Founded in 1950, Bellarmine was founded as Bellarmine College under the sponsorship of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville and with the special assistance of the Conventual Franciscan Fathers, according to their website. It wasn’t until the year 2000 that Bellarmine became Bellarmine University and the name was changed to reflect their true status as a Master’s I university.

Here’s a little more more about the university and their athletic programs:


Bellarmine won the Division II national championship in men’s basketball in 2011.

According to Bellarmine’s athletics website, Bellarmine has won multiple DII championships. In 2011, Bellarmine defeated BYU-Hawaii in the DII national championship to win the men’s basketball national title. Bellarmine was impressive that year, going 33-2 overall and 17-1 in GLVC conference play. The ASUN conference recently announced that their 2010-2011 basketball season was their top season in basketball history.

Bellarmine men’s basketball made 11 consecutive NCAA DII national championship appearances from 2009 to 2019. Something to think about as they join the ASUN.


Bellarmine will have to transition to full D1 play

As Bellarmine has joined the ASUN conference and is set to play against D1 teams, they will have to deal with a transition period that will last four years. In this transition period, all 22 athletics teams will be able to play against their fellow D1 teams, but they cannot participate in postseason play until the 2024-2025 season.


Bellarmine already had a D1 program

Men’s lacrosse at Bellarmine has been a D1 program for the last 16 years and has been through ups and downs of being a smaller program in a big pond. In 2014, they were actually supposed to join the ASUN conference as a lacrosse-only member but before the move happened, the ASUN conference and the Southern Conference agreed to switch sponsorship of men’s lacrosse from the ASUN to the SoCon. Bellarmine started playing in the SoCon in 2015 and will be exempt from the four year transition period.


Another school with no football

Among having 22 individual athletic teams, Bellarmine joins most of the other ASUN schools as not having a football program. Bellarmine’s undergraduate student body only consists of around 3,000 students and 204 student athletes, so football doesn’t seem to be coming to Bellarmine any time soon.

Bellarmine’s current athletic programs consist of both men’s and women’s competition and on the men’s side there is baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, indoor and outdoor track and field, tennis and wrestling. On the women’s side there is basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, indoor and outdoor track and field and volleyball.


Bellarmine is excited to finally compete in D1 athletics

When Bellarmine University Dr. Susan M. Donovan accepted the ASUN’s invitation to become a D1 program, hopes appeared to be high in Louisville. Donovan had a few words to say in an article posted to Bellarmine’s website.

“I’m happy to announce that one of the first initiatives in Bellarmine’s new strategic plan is being realized today,” said Donovan. “Our athletics program will move to NCAA Division I through an invitation from the ASUN Conference. This move gives us the opportunity to compete against the best rivals in college sports, and it allows us to share the Bellarmine story with a larger audience than ever before.”


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