Butler basketball’s unheralded success for a mid-major program helped bring the spotlight to a Horizon League school. Ultimately, the Bulldogs decided they had been challenged enough and built a brand strong enough for a promotion.
Butler is headed to the Atlantic 10 conference, the school announced Wednesday. There had been talks for months now but today it finally becomes official.
The conference currently consists of Charlotte, Dayton, Duquesne, Fordham, George Washington, La Salle, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Richmond, St. Bonaventure, Saint Joseph’s, Saint Louis, Temple, and Xavier.
The Atlantic 10′s Council of Presidents unanimously voted to accept Butler into the conference, effective July 1, 2013. Butler will have to pay about $50,000 to part ways with the Horizon League.
There have also been rumors about VCU and George Mason joining the A-10 as well.
Read the full news release below, via ButlerSports:
Butler University will join the Atlantic 10 Conference beginning with the 2013-2014 season, President James M. Danko announced today.
“Butler University is pleased to be the newest member of the Atlantic 10 Conference,” Danko said. “The universities in this conference are strong academically and they value the student-athlete experience. Butler fits well with them and we look forward to being part of their tradition of excellence.”
The move will cover all Butler athletic teams except football, which will remain in the Pioneer League, and woman’s golf. The Atlantic 10 does not host woman’s golf, so Butler will look to another conference for that sport.
Danko said the move makes sense for Butler academically and financially. The Atlantic 10 ranked third among all Division I conferences in the most recent NCAA graduation rates, with 89 percent of student-athletes graduating.
“Moving to the Atlantic 10 allows us to associate and compete with institutions with outstanding academic profiles and values,” Butler Athletic Director Barry Collier said. “They value the experience of the student-athlete.”
Although some competitions may be further in distance, the out-of-class time for our student-athletes will be reduced because many A-10 games are scheduled for weekends and not all schools in the conference play each other every year.
“Our student success in the classroom will never be compromised,” Collier said.
Joining the Atlantic 10 also increases Butler’s visibility beyond the Midwest, which means greater student recruitment opportunities, Danko said.
A-10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade described Butler as “a perfect fit” for the conference. Butler “bring a tradition of excellence in academics, athletics, integrity and personnel,” McGlade said. “As a conference driven by national prominence in men’s basketball, Butler further strengthens our league. Complementing their success in men’s basketball is a broad-based sports program that will compete well in the A-10.”
Danko thanked Horizon League Commission Jon LeCrone and the schools in the Horizon League for their support. Butler was a charter member of the Midwestern City Conference (later renamed Midwestern Collegiate Conference and then Horizon League). The league formed in 1979 with Butler, Evansville, Loyola, Oklahoma City, Oral Roberts and Xavier.
Butler was in the Indiana Collegiate Conference from 1950 to 1978 and was an independent in 1978-79. From 1946-50, Butler was in the Mid-American Conference.
Click here to read the release from the Atlantic 10.