Reports: Northern Kentucky Norse to Move to Horizon League
Just three seasons after it entered NCAA Division I competition, Northern Kentucky may be switching conferences.
The Norse, who compete in the Atlantic Sun Conference which is made up of schools from southern states, may be moving to the Horizon League, a more Midwestern, metropolitan conference, according to multiple reports.
WXIX's Joe Danneman said this on on Saturday:
BREAKING: Source confirms NKU will be moving to the Horizon League for all sports. Pending board approval Monday.— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) May 9, 2015
On Saturday afternoon Northern Kentucky University notified the media, including The River City News, of a special Board of Regents meeting scheduled for Monday at 9:30 a.m. where the topic would be "intercollegiate athletics".
NKU has made multiple high profile changes since entering D-I play three seasons ago, including the replacement of its athletic director who ended up in prison after stealing cash from the Highland Heights campus, and its longtime men's basketball coach.
Current Athletic Director Ken Bothof arrived at Northern Kentucky from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, a school whose sports teams compete in the Horizon League.
The Times of Northwest Indiana reported in March that the Horizon League would likely expand in the near future:
“I’d say that we’re in the active phase (of expansion) whereas 12 months ago we were in the study phase,” (Horizon League Commissioner Jon) LeCrone said. “We know what we need to know about potential candidates.”
LeCrone hesitated a setting a timetable for adding one, or additional members, saying that there are a number of variables that need to be considered. The Horizon League has nine members and the odd number has made conference scheduling difficult, particularly in men’s basketball.
“When it comes to adding another partner, you don’t know their time frame and you have to be respectful of the other school’s league,” LeCrone said. “That doesn’t mean we couldn’t make an announcement.”
Whereas the Atlantic Sun is made up of schools from Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina (in addition to NKU in Kentucky), the Horizon League features teams from Ohio (Cleveland State, Wright State, Youngstown State), Michigan (Detroit Mercy, Oakland), Indiana (Valparaiso), Wisconsin (UW-Green Bay, UW-Milwaukee), and Illinois (UI-Chicago).
For the first time this season, Northern Kentucky competed in the conference post-season tournaments and will be eligible for the full post-season, including the NCAA basketball tournament, in the 2016-17 season.