INDIANAPOLIS - APRIL 03: Final four t-shirts with the logo for the Butler Bulldogs are seen on the backs of seats prior to their game against the Michigan State Spartans during the National Semifinal game of the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship on April 3, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Butler will officially announce that it is leaving the Horizon League for the Atlantic 10, beginning in 2013.
Butler will leave the Horizon League and join the Atlantic-10 for the 2013-14 season, the university announced on Wednesday.
The A-10 announced during an afternoon teleconference that its Council of Presidents has unanimously voted to formally accept Butler's application for membership.
Butler President James Danko said in a statement:
Butler University is pleased to be the newest member of the Atlantic 10 Conference...The universities in this conference are strong academically and they value the student-athlete experience. Butler fits well with them and we look forward to being part of their tradition of excellence.
The move will cover all Butler athletic programs except football, which will remain in the Pioneer League, and woman's golf. The Atlantic 10 does not host women's golf, so the Bulldogs will look to another conference for that sport.
Horizon League Commissioner Jon LeCrone said Butler president James Danko informed him of Butler's intentions on Tuesday:
We are proud of the role the Horizon League played in providing a platform for Butler to significantly improve its athletics programs and achieve the highest level of national competitiveness in men's basketball.
Butler had an established reputation of success in men's basketball 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, many felt that the program had 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 the Atlantic 10, Butler will join programs that have achieved a similar level of success, like Xavier, Dayton and Saint Louis.