Bellarmine University, located in Louisville, KY will be joining NCAA Division I in all sports starting the 2020-2021 season. They’ll join the Atlantic Sun Conference as the 10th member. Joining Division I is a long four-year process for the Knights. Per Eric Crawford of WDRB of Louisville, it will cost them $1.6 million in application fees plus additional funds to join the ASUN. As part of the process, Bellarmine will not be able to qualify for the NCAA Tournament for four years but will be able to qualify for other postseason tournaments such as the NIT or College Basketball Invitational.
Join Bellarmine University in Centro’s McGowan Hall atrium at 11:30AM on Tuesday, June 18, for a significant announcement about the university and our @BUKnights athletics program. ?
?? #SwordsUpBU ?? pic.twitter.com/iSKX6bUpyL
— Bellarmine University? (@bellarmineU) June 17, 2019
Undeniably, Bellarmine has been a powerhouse in Division II in the Great Lakes Valley conference. Lead by former longtime Louisville assistant coach Scotty Davenport, Bellarmine won the 2011 D2 National title. Former coaches at Bellarmine have been Bob Valvano (brother of the late Jim Valvano), and Alex Groza (former Kentucky basketball legend).
Without a doubt, being a part of D1 will allow Bellarmine to gain revenue in guaranteed games. The Knights often played D1 opponents such as Louisville and Cincinnati. Shockingly, they beat Xavier a few years back when they were coached by current Louisville head man, Chris Mack. Bellarmine has all the makings of being the next mid-major and its profile fits the likes of St. Marys and countless others who have made their mark.
Bellarmine is following the footsteps of fellow Kentucky school, Northern Kentucky. NKU made their NCAA tournament debut in 2017 and put a scare in eventual national runner-up Texas Tech this past season.