By Chris McGee
While the University of Kentucky is battling the University of Louisville each year for the coveted Governor’s Cup, the Colonels are battling to win their own prestigious cup: the Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner’s Cup.
The cup, which represents overall excellence in conference-sponsored sports, was instituted in 1962 for men and 1980 for women.
With 46.5 points, Eastern currently is first in the Cup standings after the fall championships. Southeast Missouri is second with 41.5 points, and the University of Tennessee-Martin is third with 37 points.
This is the fourth consecutive year Eastern has been at the top of the standings after the fall. However, Athletics Director Mark Sandy cautions against becoming too optimistic after the fall.
“Leading in the fall can be misleading because things can change,” Sandy said. “It’s pretty far ahead.”
Points are awarded based on a team’s finish in several sports, such as men’s and women’s cross-country, track and field (indoor and outdoor) and football, to name a few. For example, in all sports except rifle and men’s indoor and outdoor track, 11 points are awarded for first, 10 for second and so on.
The scoring for the aforementioned exceptions is a little intricate. In rifle, 11 points is awarded for first, but subsequent point totals are calculated by dividing the number of OVC member institutions by the number of schools sponsoring the sport. With men’s indoor and outdoor track, this number works out to 2.0 or less. In rifle, the number is 2.75.
Eastern’s place at the top of the standings was aided by top finishes in men’s cross country and football, as well as second-place finishes in women’s cross country and soccer.
Sandy said some schools are strong in certain sports.
“SEMO is good in track and field; this is where they will gain a lot of their points,” he said.
Sandy said Eastern lost by just 1.5 points last year.
Each school has 13 championships left to play: rifle, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, basketball, tennis, golf, baseball and softball.
Sandy said his disdain for second is his driving motivation for wanting to win the Cup this year.
“We’ve come in second the last three years,” Sandy said. “I’m tired of losing.”