ROCHESTER, MI - Oakland Director of Athletics Tracy Huth announced on Tuesday that the Golden Grizzlies will leave The Summit League and join the Horizon League on July 1, 2013. OU will compete in all of its 18 intercollegiate sports.
"Moving to the Horizon League allows us to associate and compete with institutions with outstanding academic profiles and values," said Huth. "They emphasize the experience of the student-athlete. It also gives us the opportunity to play the University of Detroit Mercy on a regular basis for some spirited metro Detroit competition."
Oakland University Board of Trustees accepted the invitation on Tuesday afternoon. The Golden Grizzlies will commence competition in the Horizon League beginning this fall.
"Oakland University is pleased to be the newest member of the Horizon League," Oakland University President Gary Russi said. "The universities in this conference are strong academically and they value the student-athlete experience. Oakland fits well with them and we look forward to being part of their tradition of excellence."
Oakland made the transition to Division I beginning in 1997 and started competition inside The Summit League (formerly known as the Mid-Continent Conference) in 1999-00. The Golden Grizzlies won a total of 73 league championships over the 14 years of competition.
"I want to thank The Summit League Commissioner Tom Douple and his staff for the professionalism, dedication and service provided to us during our membership," said Huth. "We thank the staff, coaches and student-athletes at the member institutions for the collegiality, sportsmanship and high caliber competition we experienced. We truly wish them the best in the future."
Horizon League Commissioner Jonathan B. LeCrone described Oakland as "a great fit" for the conference. Oakland "brings a tradition of excellence in academics, athletics, integrity and personnel," LeCrone said. "As a conference driven by national prominence in men's basketball, Oakland further strengthens our league. Complementing their success in men's basketball is a broad-based sports program that will compete well."
With the addition of Oakland, the Horizon League is now at nine members; Cleveland State, Detroit, Green Bay, Milwaukee, UIC, Valparaiso, Wright State and Youngstown State.
Comprised of nine public and private institutions of higher learning, the Horizon League is an NCAA Division I athletics conference that sponsors 19 intercollegiate championship sports and is headquartered in Indianapolis. The League and its member institutions aspire to teach young people, through athletic competition, the value of learning, service to others and personal responsibility.