Butler leaves for A-10 effective immediately
Staff and Wire Report May 29, 2012 11:18PM
Updated: July 6, 2012 8:52AM
There will be no Butler farewell tour in the Horizon League. The Bulldogs have bolted.
Butler announced Tuesday afternoon that it will join the Atlantic 10 this fall — one year sooner than originally planned. The Horizon League removed Butler’s logo from its website within the hour.
Some news outlets reported that the Horizon League was planning to block Butler from participating in postseason tournaments next season, precipitating the move, but neither side confirmed that.
“We are willing to make all necessary schedule adjustments and modifications to accommodate Butler’s entry into the A-10 on July 1, 2012,” conference commissioner Bernadette McGlade said in a release. “The unexpected circumstances that precipitated Butler’s request to move immediately were unfortunate, but we will welcome Butler into the A-10 as a valuable new member.”
Bulldogs athletic director Barry Collier said the school is grateful that things could be worked out this quickly and that it was in the school’s best interest to reach an agreement with the Horizon League to leave immediately.
The move leaves the Horizon League with just nine schools for next season. Oakland has been floated as a possible replacement for Butler, but it would be very difficult for such a move to be made in time for the fall.
From a men’s basketball standpoint, losing the two-time national finalists should significantly hurt the conference’s RPI and potential NCAA Tournament seeding. On the other hand, it makes Valparaiso — the regular-season champion last season — the prohibitive favorite to win the league next season and return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2004.
Butler’s move also leaves the Horizon League with just five baseball teams, one below the minimum needed for an automatic NCAA bid. The league will have a two-year grace period to find a sixth baseball team.