Butler not ruling out new conference

Butler is not ruling out the possibility of switching athletic conferences again.
Just a few months after the move from the Horizon League to the Atlantic 10 Conference, Butler President Jim Danko is neither confirming nor denying any rumors that Butler could switch conferences again.

Danko sent out an email to the university community on Dec. 17 addressing rumors that Butler was going to join the “Catholic 7.”

“In terms of the announcement by the “Catholic 7” schools to separate from the Big East, I greatly respect—and agree with—their collective conviction that, if they do not control their own destiny, someone else will,” Danko said.  “Butler, too, has controlled its destiny proactively, for example, when it made the decision to join the excellent Atlantic 10 Conference.

“Our administrators, our coaches, our trustees, and our team will continue to do what is right for Butler and its students.”

The Catholic 7 is a group of universities formerly part of the Big East consisting of: Villanova, Georgetown, St. John’s, DePaul, Marquette, Providence and Seton Hall.

These seven schools announced last Saturday their official departure from the Big East. These schools have also said they intend to construct a new basketball-centric league.

The Catholic school officials have said the plan is to create a new 10- or 12-team league.

Despite speculation that the new league would be an all-Catholic league, that has not been confirmed by representatives within those seven schools.

Butler, a non-Catholic school, would be one of the smaller schools included.

Butler brings its national reputation as a strong basketball school to the table during any conference realignment discussions.

The men’s basketball team has participated in two of the last three national championship games, upset a No. 1 team for the first time in school history Saturday and debuted at No. 19 in this week’s Top 25.

“The fact that Butler is now being mentioned prominently as a potential candidate to join the ‘Catholic 7’ universities in a new athletic league, is a tribute to the success of our athletic program overall and our men’s basketball team, in particular,” Danko said. “Our team has proven consistently and continuously that it is one of the very best in the nation, and that they are one of the biggest brands in men’s college basketball. This national prestige naturally leads to speculation about Butler’s athletic future.”

Other schools expected to be targeted by the Catholic 7 include Atlantic 10 opponents Xavier, Dayton and Saint Louis.

Butler Athletic Director Barry Collier and officials from the Atlantic 10 have denied comment at this time.

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