Meet the ASUN’s newest member school

Riley Platt, Sports Reporter

Despite expanding earlier this year, the ASUN Conference has widened its reach once again, adding Austin Peay State University. 

News broke in January that the ASUN would be adding three new members: Central Arkansas, Eastern Kentucky, and Jacksonville State. This boosted the league to a total of 12 members, but the new move has changed this yet again.

The latest announcement came Friday, despite rumblings about APSU’s arrival throughout the week. While expansion is almost always a positive sign for a conference, who is APSU, and what do they bring to the table?

Austin Peay State University was founded in 1927 and is located in Clarksville, Tenn. The school’s athletic teams go by the Governors, referencing former Tennessee Governor Austin Peay, whom the school is named after.

The school is a public institution but is rather small compared to some ASUN schools. As of 2020, APSU had an undergraduate enrollment of just under 10,000. For reference, UNF has a reported enrollment of roughly 15,000. 

Photo by Carder Henry/APSU Sports Information.

The Governors previously called the Ohio Valley Conference home prior to the move. The school boasts a solid football program, bringing the ASUN to 6 football members. This is critical because it allows the conference to reach the minimum number of teams to qualify the conference winner for an automatic playoff berth. 

While UNF won’t be affected by the football team, APSU has a number of other quality teams. One of these is men’s basketball, which has made seven NCAA Tournament appearances. 

The Governors men’s basketball team recently posted an impressive 21-12 season two years ago, but a rough season last year saw changes be made. The main one was the hiring of Duke University assistant coach Nate James as their new head coach.

APSU won’t be officially competing in the ASUN until the 2022-23 academic year, but UNF will get a chance to meet their new conference member this winter. On Dec. 11, the two schools will face off in men’s basketball at UNF Arena in what is currently a non-conference matchup.

This move helps bolster the ASUN’s influence in the Volunteer State. APSU joins Lipscomb as the second ASUN current program in Tennessee. With APSU being located about an hour from Nashville, this could create an interesting rivalry with Lipscomb. 

With the ASUN now being home to 13 members, it’s likely that a 14th member will eventually join to create an even number. The possibility of what school this could be, and a timetable for the potential move, is hard to pinpoint. 

While the Governors aren’t officially under the ASUN banner just yet, Osprey fans should be excited to see the conference growing at this rate. This brings in better competition and will help build the brand. Just like the sun on the conference’s logo, the future of the ASUN is bright.