Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Conference shuffling Horizon League style

The never-ending Division I conference shuffling has reached a league with a Northeast Ohio presence.

The Horizon League announced Tuesday that Oakland (Mich.) University will join the conference effective July 1, 2013. The conference didn't waste time making the announcement. Oakland's board of trustees voted Tuesday to accept the Horizon League's invitation. Cleveland State is one of the conference's veteran members.

Oakland is ditching the Summer League to join the Horizon League. The school is joining the conference in 18 sports, including men's basketball. Sorry, tennis fans. The  Grizzlies' men's tennis program isn't making the move.

Oakland will replace Loyola University of Chicago, which bolted the Horizon League last month to join the Missouri Valley Conference. Creighton's decision to join the Big East resulted in the Missouri Valley Conference looking for a new member.

"Oakland University is the perfect fit at the perfect time for the Horizon League," Commissioner Jonathan B. LeCrone said in a statement. “They bring a well-respected and growing athletics program and we are adding a university that is aspirational. We look forward to working with President Gary Russi, Athletics Director Tracy Huth and his staff on behalf of the student-athletes. This is an exciting beginning to our external growth plan."

External growth plan? Translation: Expect more movement. Additional translation: the Summit League better begin cutting favorable deals to prevent further losses.

Here's the Horizon League's 2013-14 lineup: Cleveland State, Detroit,  Green Bay, Illinois-Chicago, Milwaukee, Valparaiso, Wright State and Youngstown State.

The lists comes with a caveat. All conference affiliations are subject to rapid change.

-- Guy Cipriano | @newsheraldguy


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