Wildman's Corner: N. Kentucky to join A-Sun in fall
In fall 2012, the Atlantic Sun Conference will add an 11th team to the conference.
Northern Kentucky is making the move from NCAA Division II to Division I in all sports to be a member of the A-Sun. The move may have an instant impact not just on the men's side of things, but the women's as well.
For 14 consecutive years, the Northern Kentucky men have advanced to NCAA Division II regionals. It's an accomplishment that coach Daryl Landrum feels will be difficult to repeat instantly at the Division I level.
"The A-Sun is a really good and tough conference, top to bottom," Landrum said. "The toughest part at first for us will be playing a lot more on courses in the South with Bermuda greens – something my guys aren't used to."
In the fall, the Norse started their season with three consecutive victories. The most impressive was at the Wasioto Winds Fall Kick-Off Invitational, hosted by Morehead State – a Division I school.
"It was a nice win, but we have had some wins in D-I fields before," Landrum said. "As a member of the A-Sun, I expect us to be in a lot more tougher fields for years to come."
Coach Landrum didn't want to guess where his team would be ranked in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings if his team were Division I, but he did know he has a long way to go if he wants to beat fifth-ranked North Florida, an A-Sun member.
"I have to get a couple of studs for Division I golf," Landrum said. "I don't have four guys that can go shoot 67s to 69s like the Ospreys. I have guys that can shoot 72s and 73s, but that won't get it done."
Landrum is hopeful he can attract some recruits from the northern part of the country. He says players from states such as Ohio, Indiana and Michigan, plus those from Canada, are looking to migrate south for the opportunity to play competitive golf. He hopes that with the move to D-I, he can recruit players by giving them a chance to play competitive fields on great golf courses.
Northern Kentucky will not be the favorite to win the A-Sun in the next year or two, but a foundation already is being planted for years to come. The A-Sun has produced some great Cinderella stories in years past, and now the Norse hope they can one day soon be the next one to wear the glass slipper.