Butler, the Horizon League's premiere program, appears to be headed to the Atlantic 10. Multiple sources confirmed to the Green Bay Press Gazzette's Rob Demovsky on Monday that the move change a "done deal."
According to Demovsky, the move likely would not occur until the 2013-14 season. Still, whenever it happens, it will be a major blow for a conference that had recently risen to among the elite of the "mid-major" crop.
Butler had an established reputation of success before 2010, having appeared in the NCAA Tournament eight times between 1997 and 2009. That reputation was taken to a completely different level when the Bulldogs came within one shot of defeating Duke in the 2010 national championship game. Remarkably, they repeated the feat in 2011, falling to Connecticut in the season's final game.
Given the extreme level of recent success, it's no wonder that many feel the program has outgrown the Horizon League. Take Butler out of the equation and the conference has not had a team seeded better than 11th since 1998. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, earned seeds of 8, 5, 9, 7 and 5 from 2007 to 2011.
In moving to the Atlantic 10, Butler will join programs that have experienced similar success, like Xavier, Dayton and UMass.