Butler University will join the Atlantic 10 conference in the 2012-13 academic year.
This afternoon, university officials announced at a conference that Butler would move out of the Horizon League and join the likes of Xavier University and University of Dayton and 11 other institutions.
“We’re pleased to be the newest member of the Atlantic 10 Conference,” University President Jim Danko said at Wednesday’s announcement.
Values and commitment to the conference’s student-athletes fell in line with those exemplified currently at the university, Danko said. He said that the conference has consistently high graduation rates and emphasizes the importance of the work in the classroom.
“This is an opportunity to continue to push and challenge the university,” Danko said.
The conference recently ranked third among all NCAA Division I conferences in graduation rates, with 89 percent of student-athletes graduating.
The other schools in the A-10 are further away than schools that Butler currently plays, increasing the cost of travel.
Changes in budget will be dealt with, Danko said. He said the university and its athletics department, headed by Athletic Director Barry Collier have assessed how it can best be addressed.
“We are prepared to make investments for travel costs,” Danko said. “We’re not working with a fixed piece of pie. It will continue to change and grow as the university grows.”
Collier said the change was the next step for Butler athletics.
“It’s going to be a challenge that the athletes will step up to,” Collier said.
Despite earlier speculation that Butler would fill an absence in the conference, A-10 Commissioner Bernadette McGlade said in a report that the conference was comfortable with 13 teams and not 14.
The presidents of the A-10 member schools unanimously voted to formally accept Butler’s application for membership, according to a release from the conference.
“Butler is a distinguished institution of higher education, it takes the academic success of its student athletes seriously, and its athletic programs have achieved notable success,” said Michael Graham, Xavier president and chair of A10 council of presidents. “In these ways and more, Butler University will enhance the values the A-10 presents all strongly affirm.”
All Butler sports except for football and women’s golf would make the switch. Butler football plays in the pioneer league. The A-10 does not host women’s golf, so the university will look to find a conference for the sport.
A-10 regularly earns more bids in the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball tournament, which leaves men’s basketball head coach Brad Stevens thinking toward the future.
“The A-10 has certainly had a lot more teams in that boat,” Stevens said. “And what that means for perception isn’t always reality.”
Recruiting and coaching philosophy will not change, Stevens said.
“It’s an interesting time as you’re on the road for recruiting time and knowing about potential change,” Stevens said “We have to continue to find really good people who are really good players.”
Still, Stevens said that his focus isn’t on the A-10 just yet.
“Our focus is on being the best team we can be this year,” Stevens said.
Stevens talks facilities, Hinkle Fieldhouse: IMG_0328