Ohio Valley Conference sues Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State over exit fees
Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner Beth DeBauche. Ayrika L. Whitney/Tennessean

Ohio Valley Conference sues Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville State over exit fees

It's not just big-name universities making headlines regarding payments linked with leaving conferences this summer. 

On Tuesday, the Ohio Valley Conference confirmed to The Associated Press (h/t ESPN) it has sued Eastern Kentucky and Jacksonville State for allegedly not paying the required $1 million exit fees to leave the league for the Atlantic Sun Conference. Both institutions completed their moves on July 1. 

"To decide now that they don't have to pay the fee not only violates their contract, it is unfair to the OVC's member institutions, with whom these schools enjoyed long and mutually beneficial relationships," OVC commissioner Beth DeBauche explained. The OVC claims Eastern Kentucky and Jacksonville State previously said they will not pay the fees. 

Neither school commented to The AP before Tuesday's story ran.

On Friday, Texas and Oklahoma both accepted invitations to join the SEC from the Big 12 in July 2025 after the Big 12's media rights deal expires. It's been suggested that both schools could look to defect sooner, but ESPN has reported they would have to pay "at least $75 million to $80 million" to break the media rights agreement unless the conference folds before that contract runs out. 

Zac Wassink is a football and futbol aficionado who is a PFWA member and is probably yelling about Tottenham Hotspur at the moment. Erik Lamela and Eli Manning apologist. Chanted for Matt Harvey to start the ninth inning of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series at Citi Field. Whoops. You can find him on Twitter at @ZacWassink

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