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Horizon League Adds Robert Morris

Northern Kentucky athletics teams are likely to see some trips to the Pittsburgh area in the near future after the Horizon League announced Monday that Robert Morris University is joining the conference starting in the 2020-21 season.

The Colonials are the twelfth team in the Horizon League, including Northern Kentucky.

In the Horizon League, the Colonials will compete in men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, women’s cross country and indoor and outdoor track & field, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s golf, and softball.

“This is the next great step forward for our student-athletes and a great day in the history of Robert Morris University,” Robert Morris President Dr. Chris Howard said. “We are excited for the excellent competition that awaits in the Horizon League and for the opportunities it presents for the university.”

Robert Morris is located in Moon Township, about seventeen miles from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“We are excited for the opportunity to become members of the Horizon League,” Robert Morris Vice President and Director of Athletics Chris King said. “Aligning ourselves with a nationally recognized and well-branded conference such as the Horizon League positions our athletics department to continue to gain national exposure for RMU.

“RMU is excited to collaborate with our Horizon League members to meet established conference goals and to actively contribute to broad-based initiatives that serve to grow the Horizon League on both a regional and national level,” said King. “We are excited about this next chapter, creating new rivalries and continuing the forward momentum of RMU athletics. I’m confident RMU, located in one of the country’s most passionate sports cities, will not only be a strong and valued member of the conference athletically, but will also enhance the reputation of the conference through the addition of a national ranking institution with student-athletes who excel academically, athletically and in life.”

The men's and women's basketball teams won the Northeast Conference tournament titles this past season, earning automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament, before the annual event was scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic. The men's team has appeared in nine NCAA Tournaments while the women's program has appeared in seven.

For basketball fans in Kentucky, a notable moment in Moon Township happened in 2013, when the defending national champion Kentucky Wildcats missed the NCAA Tournament and were sent to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) instead. Because the boys high school basketball championship tournament was already scheduled for Rupp Arena during that period, UK was forced to go on the road as a number-one seed against Robert Morris, and was upset 59-57 by the Colonials.

“We are excited to welcome Robert Morris University to the Horizon League family,” Horizon League Commissioner Jonathan B. LeCrone said. “The Colonials align with the Horizon League’s mission, vision and core values. Their addition brings competitive potential, especially in men’s basketball, the engaged and vital communities of Moon Township and Greater Pittsburgh, and membership diversity. Their addition positions the Horizon League perfectly for the future.”

-Staff report