Northern Kentucky University is leaving the Atlantic Sun Conference and joining the Horizon League.
The move will be official on July 1, 2015.
Here is the official press release from NKU:
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. –Northern Kentucky University President Geoffrey S. Mearns announced today that NKU will join the Horizon League effective July 1, 2015.
The Norse will become the 10th member of the league, joining Cleveland State University, University of Detroit Mercy, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Oakland University, Valparaiso University, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Wright State University and Youngstown State University.
"This is an exciting day for Northern Kentucky University," said President Mearns. "I am proud to announce that we will become a member of the Horizon League beginning with the 2015-16 season.
"We made the move to Division I in order to align with similar aspirational institutions. The Horizon League member schools are located in areas that are ideal for student recruitment., In fact, seven of the nine schools are located within 300 miles of NKU's main campus. The future of Norse athletics is bright, and the Horizon League is an excellent fit," he said.
President Mearns also said the move will significantly reduce travel costs and will allow the university to engage with more alumni, with more than 14,000 NKU graduates living in the states covered by the League's footprint.
NKU Director of Athletics Ken Bothof said the move also advances the university's athletics mission of supporting student-athlete well-being; engaging the university and local community; and establishing relationships with alumni, friends, and fans.
"We are able to achieve each of these ideals in the Horizon League," Mr. Bothof said. "As part of the Horizon League, we will reduce the amount of travel for our student-athletes, allowing them to spend more time in the classroom. The closer proximity also provides our fans with more opportunities to travel to see their Norse in action. Plus, the League's television deal with ESPN delivers great visibility for NKU athletics."
The Horizon League sponsors 19 sports, including all 17 in which NKU competes. A rich tradition of success in NCAA championships also exists within the conference, including a 19-16 record and two national title game appearances in the men's basketball tournament over the last 13 years. Green Bay's women's basketball team reached the Sweet 16 in 2011 and advanced to the second round a year later. Success has also come in men's soccer, women's soccer, softball and track & field.
"Northern Kentucky University's mission, vision and values align with the Horizon League," said Commissioner Jonathan B. LeCrone. "We look forward to working with President Geoffrey Mearns, Director of Athletics Ken Bothof and his staff on behalf of NKU's student-athletes. The Horizon League is adding a well-respected, growing athletics program and an aspiration university."
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