|Division||Division I non-football|
|Sports fielded||19 (men's: 9; women's: 10)|
|Region||Great Lakes and Ohio Valley|
|Former names||Midwestern City Conference (1979–1985)
Midwestern Collegiate Conference (1985–2001)
|Commissioner||Jonathan B. LeCrone (since 1992)|
The Horizon League is a 10-school collegiate athletic conference in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I, whose members are located in the Midwestern United States (or, in one case, in a metropolitan area on the edge of the Midwest).
The Horizon League is best known for its men's basketball teams and is one of the top performing NCAA Division I conferences in that sport according to the NCAA Men's Basketball Rating Percentage Index (RPI). Only seven conferences have won at least one game in seven of the last eight NCAA Tournaments: the six BCS conferences and the Horizon League (Butler four times, Milwaukee twice, and Cleveland State once). The Horizon League has been a multi-bid conference nine times, including twice in the last six years, and had a conference-record three teams in 1998. The Horizon League has had a team win at least one game in the NCAA Tournament 11 of the last 15 years, which also betters every non-BCS conference. Horizon League teams have advanced to the Sweet Sixteen (or further) five of the last ten years (Butler four times, Milwaukee once), which exceeds all but one non-BCS conference. Multiple Horizon League members have made Sweet 16, Elite Eight and Final Four appearances. The Horizon League currently holds the fifth best winning percentage among non-BCS conferences in the men's NCAA basketball Tournament (21–31, .404, 11th best among the 31 Division I conferences). The Horizon League currently ranks 11th out of 32 NCAA Division I conferences in RPI, while having an average finish of 12th (out of 31) over the past seven seasons.
- 1 History
- 2 Member schools
- 3 Sports
- 4 Other sports
- 5 Facilities
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
In May 1978, DePaul University hosted a meeting with representatives from Bradley, Dayton, Detroit, Illinois State, Loyola-Chicago, Air Force, and Xavier in which all agreed in principle that a new athletic conference was needed. Further progress was made through a series of early 1979 meetings in San Francisco, Chicago, and St. Louis that included participation by Butler, Creighton, Marquette, and Oral Roberts. On June 16, 1979, the Midwestern City Conference (nicknamed the MCC or Midwestern City 6) was formed by charter members Butler, Evansville, Loyola, Oklahoma City, Oral Roberts, and Xavier, with Detroit joining the following year.
In 1980 the league established its headquarters in Champaign, Illinois. The MCC gained an automatic bid to the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship in 1981, followed by the announcement that Saint Louis University would be joining the following season. The University of Notre Dame joined the conference for all sports except basketball and football in 1982. The conference attained automatic qualification for the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship in 1984 and the conference moved its headquarters to Indianapolis. In the summer of 1985, three changes occurred: Oklahoma City dropped out of the NCAA altogether; the name was altered slightly to Midwestern Collegiate Conference; and the conference brought women's athletics into the fold. The latter triggered Notre Dame's temporary withdrawal from the league as its women's teams were contracted to the North Star Conference. ESPN began televising the MCC Championship game in 1986 and in 1987 Oral Roberts left the conference while Dayton joined and Notre Dame rejoined. In 1989, the conference received its first at-large bid to the men's basketball tournament and automatic qualification to the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship. The conference won an automatic bid to the NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Championship in 1991 and the conference lost members Marquette and Saint Louis. Duquesne and La Salle joined the MCC in 1992, the same year the conference gained an automatic berth to the NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship. Duquesne and Dayton left the conference in 1993.
The largest non-merger conference expansion in NCAA history occurred on December 9, 1993 when Cleveland State, UIC, Northern Illinois, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Wright State left the Mid-Continent to join the Midwestern Collegiate beginning with the 1994–95 academic year. With Evansville's departure to the Missouri Valley Conference, there were 12 league members. Xavier, Notre Dame, and La Salle withdrew the following summer of 1995, followed by Northern Illinois in 1997. The conference changed its name to the Horizon League on June 4, 2001, in part due to the initialism causing confusion between the MCC and the Mid-Continent Conference (which also used the initialism). That year, Youngstown State University came to the Horizon League from the Mid-Con, and on May 17, 2006, Valparaiso University announced it would do the same in 2007. As of the 2015–16 school year, eight of the 10 Horizon League members are former members of the Mid-Con (now known as The Summit League), with the only exceptions being established member Detroit and new member Northern Kentucky. In addition, four former members are currently in the Atlantic 10 Conference, and three former members are in the current Big East Conference.
The split of the original Big East Conference, leading to the formation of the current Big East, had further fallout involving the Horizon League. Loyola announced in April 2013 that it would leave the Horizon effective July 1 to join the Missouri Valley Conference, which itself had lost Creighton to the new Big East. Within a month, the Horizon had announced that Loyola would immediately be replaced by Oakland University, formerly of The Summit League.
Horizon League Network
|Horizon League Network|
|Owned by||Horizon League|
In 2006, the conference launched the Horizon League Network (HLN) as the centerpiece of a revamped web portal. In partnership with The CBS College Sports Network, the broadband network airs over 200 live events free on the League's official website. Events include regular season basketball games, tournament matches, archived championships, The Horizon League Report, and other programming from the array of athletics the league sponsors. Its coverage complements events televised on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and members' local sports networks.
The Horizon League and WebStream Productions launched a completely redesigned Horizon League Network  website in September 2009. The site, which can be found at www.HorizonLeagueNetwork.tv, serves as a portal to hundreds of live and on-demand videos while giving its users the ability to interact on an array of social media platforms.
|Institution||Location||Founded||Joined||Type||Enrollment||Endowment ||Nickname||Colors||U.S. News
|Cleveland State University||Cleveland, Ohio||1964||1994||Public||16,418||N/A||Vikings||Forest green & White
|University of Detroit Mercy (Detroit)||Detroit, Michigan||1877||1980||Private||5,700||$30,428,000||Titans||Blue, Red & White
|University of Wisconsin–Green Bay (Green Bay)||Green Bay, Wisconsin||1965||1994||Public||6,549||$28,699,357||Phoenix||Forest green & White
|University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (Milwaukee)||Milwaukee, Wisconsin||1956||1994||Public||30,502||$94,484,369||Panthers||Black & Gold
|Northern Kentucky University||Highland Heights, Kentucky||1968||2015||Public||15,405||$74,270,000||Norse||Gold & White
|Oakland University||Rochester, Michigan||1957||2013||Public||20,519||$61,431,555||Golden Grizzlies||Black & Gold
|University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)||Chicago, Illinois||1946||1994||Public||27,580||$264,988,803||Flames||Navy blue & Fire engine red
|Valparaiso University||Valparaiso, Indiana||1859||2007||Private||4,500||$202,737,000||Crusaders||Brown & Gold
|Wright State University||Fairborn, Ohio||1964||1994||Public||17,074||$108,590,573||Raiders||Green & Gold
|Youngstown State University||Youngstown, Ohio||1908||2001||Public||15,058||$212,374,889||Penguins||Red & White
Notes: * RNP means US News & World Report calculated a ranking, but it is not published. "Not Ranked" according to US News & World Report signifies either not enough information was provided to make a ranking or that the university was not accreditied.
|Belmont University||Nashville, Tennessee||1890||2014||Private/Non-denominational||7,301||$88,433,300||Bruins||Navy & Red
- The Marquette men's basketball team joined the Horizon League a year after becoming a full member for other sports (1989–90).
- Marquette adopted its current nickname of Golden Eagles in 1994.
- Notre Dame rejoined the Horizon League for all men's sports except basketball after a season as an Independent. Its women's sports, which had been in the North Star Conference since the 1983–84 school year, moved to the Horizon League beginning the following season (1988–89).
- Oklahoma City adopted its current nickname of Stars in 1999.
- Oral Roberts adopted its current nickname of Golden Eagles in 1993.
- The Saint Louis men's basketball team joined the Horizon League a year after it became a full member for other sports (1982–83).
The Horizon League sponsors championship competition in nine men's and ten women's NCAA sanctioned sports:
|Swimming and diving||6||7|
|Track and field (indoor)||6||7|
|Track and field (outdoor)||6||7|
Horizon League Men's Basketball Tournament Champions
From 1995 to 2011, the Horizon League has sent 24 teams to the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. Those clubs have produced 22 wins in those 14 years, including five "Sweet 16" appearances, making the Horizon League the only non-BCS conference with Sweet 16 participants in at least five of the last nine tournaments (2003, 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2011). Four schools from the conference have produced "modern-day" Sweet 16 appearances - Loyola (1985), Xavier (1990), Butler (2003, 2007, 2010 and 2011), and Milwaukee (2005). The Horizon League has compiled a 15-8 record in the past five years in the NCAA tournament, ranking tops among all NCAA Division I conferences for winning percentage in that span. Butler appeared in the men's national championship game in both 2010 and 2011, losing both times. Since the NCAA began seeding teams in 1979, Loyola's 4 seed in the 1985 tournament is the best for a Horizon League team. The Horizon League currently holds the best winning percentage among non-BCS conferences in the men's NCAA basketball Tournament (.488, 7th overall amongst the 31 Division I conferences).
One former Horizon League member claims a national championship from the era before the league's creation. In the 1963 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, Loyola defeated two-time defending champ Cincinnati. Before post-season tournaments determined champions, former Horizon member Butler claimed national titles in 1924 and 1929.
The League hosted the men's Final Four in 1991, 1997, 2000, 2006, 2009 and 2010. It also hosted the women's Final Four in 2005 and 2007. Horizon League commissioner Jonathan B. LeCrone, who is in his 17th year as league commissioner, just finished a five-year term on the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee.
As stated on their official website, the recent success of Horizon League athletic teams on the national stage heightened the visibility of the league and its member schools and quickly moved it closer toward its stated goal of becoming one of the nation's top 10 Division I NCAA athletic conferences.
In the 2003 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, the Horizon League entered two teams for the first time since 1998. Milwaukee, who earned a 12 seed in its first bid to the tournament since joining the conference, lost by one point to Notre Dame in the first round. Butler, who gained an at-large bid and also received a 12 seed, made their fifth tournament appearance in seven years. The Bulldogs made it to the Sweet 16 with victories over No. 20 (5 seed) Mississippi State and No. 14 (4 seed) Louisville before they fell to No. 3 (1 seed) Oklahoma in the East Regional. The Bulldogs finished the year ranked No. 21 in the final ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Poll.
In the men's 2005 NCAA Basketball Tournament, the Horizon League enjoyed one of its best showings ever as 12 seed Milwaukee marched to the Sweet 16 with victories over No. 19 (5 seed) Alabama and No. (4 seed) Boston College before they fell to then-No. 1 and eventual tournament runner-up Illinois. Milwaukee ranked as high as No. 23 in the March 7 ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Poll.
In the 2006 NCAA Basketball Tournament, 11 seed Milwaukee once again advanced in the Tournament by upsetting the No. 20 (6 seed) Oklahoma 82–74. The Panthers, led by first year head coach Rob Jeter, fell to eventual national champion No. 11 (AP)/No. 10 (ESPN) (3 seed) Florida in the second round of the tournament. For the second straight year and third time in the last four years, the league had a team advance past the first round.
In the 2006–07 basketball season, Butler won the Preseason NIT tournament in Madison Square Garden with wins over in-state rivals Notre Dame and Indiana in the NIT's Midwest regional bracket, followed by wins over No. 21 Tennessee and No. 23 Gonzaga in the NIT Final Four in Madison Square Garden. Later, the Bulldogs claimed victory over Purdue in the Wooden Tradition. On February 5, 2007, Butler became the first school in Horizon League history to be ranked in the Top 10 of the national college basketball polls, as the Bulldogs reached No. 9 and No. 10 in the EPSN/USA Today and AP polls, respectively. The Bulldogs ended their season with a No. 21 ranking in the final AP poll, a 5 seed in the NCAA tournament and a Sweet 16 berth by beating Old Dominion and Maryland before losing to eventual national champion Florida. Wright State also qualified for the NCAA tournament as the winner of the Horizon League Tournament Championship and tying Butler for the regular season championship. As a 14 seed, the Raiders fell to No. 13 (AP)/No. 11 (ESPN) (3 seed) Pittsburgh in the first round.
During the 2007–08 basketball season, Butler won the Great Alaska Shootout with wins over Michigan, Virginia Tech and Texas Tech, and also claimed wins over Ohio State and Florida State, which extended their record against BCS schools to 10–1 since the beginning of the 2006–07 season. As a 7 seed in the 2008 NCAA Basketball Tournament, the Bulldogs beat 10 seed South Alabama before falling in overtime to No. 5 (AP)/No. 4 (ESPN) (2 seed) Tennessee. Butler finished the season ranked No. 11 in the AP poll and No. 14 in the ESPN/USA Today poll. Also, Cleveland State earned a 6 seed in the NIT, losing in the first round to Dayton.
Starting in 2009, regional convenience store and gas station chain Speedway served as the title sponsor of the conference tournament, which Cleveland State won, which earned them the Horizon League's automatic bid to the NCAA Tourney while Butler received an at-large bid. Butler, a 9 seed, lost in the first round to LSU while 13 seed Cleveland State upset No. 8 (AP)/No. 9 (ESPN) (4 seed) Wake Forest 84–69 (and achieved the third biggest upset in NCAA history winning by 15 points) and shocked the nation in the first round of play before falling to 12 seed Arizona in the second round of tournament play. Butler finished the season ranked No. 22 in the final AP poll and No. 25 in the final ESPN/USA Today poll.
After defeating No. 25 (12 seed) UTEP, 13 seed Murray State and No. 4 (1 seed) Syracuse, the No. 8 (ESPN)/No. 11 (AP) (5 seed) Butler men's team defeated No. 7 Kansas State, the 2 seed in the West, by a score of 63–56 to advance to their first Final Four. After beating the No. 12 (ESPN)/No. 13 (AP) (5 seed) Michigan State Spartans 52–50 in the national semifinals, Butler played in Indianapolis against the South Regional Champions, No. 3 (1 seed) Duke for the NCAA Division I National Championship. Butler lost what many are calling the most thrilling college basketball game in a generation, losing 61–59 in a game that came down to the final play. This is the farthest any team has reached in the tournament while a member of the Horizon League. Butler was the first Division I men's team to play in the Final Four in its hometown since UCLA in 1972, and the first of either sex since Texas played in the 1987 Women's Final Four on its home court.
Also of note, former Milwaukee head coach Bruce Pearl coached the Tennessee Volunteers to the Elite Eight and narrowly lost the opportunity to play Butler by losing to Michigan State, who Butler beat in the Final Four.
Butler once again represented the Horizon League in the tournament with another very strong showing. As an 8 seed, Butler defeated (9 seed) Old Dominion, narrowly upset Pittsburgh (which was No. 1 ranked and seeded), Wisconsin (4 seed) and Florida (2 seed) to return to the Final Four. Butler faced VCU, an 11 seed Cinderella team who unexpectedly reached the Final Four as the first team to play five tournament games to reach the Final Four, due to VCU's participation in the inaugural First Four Round. After Butler defeated VCU 70–62, the Bulldogs were in the national championship game for the second consecutive season. This time they faced Connecticut at Reliant Stadium in Houston. The Huskies were too much for the Butler Bulldogs to handle, as Butler lost the game 53–41 in an unusually low-scoring national championship game. This made Butler national runner-up for the second season in a row.
The Milwaukee baseball team made national headlines during the 1999 College World Series by upsetting No. 1 ranked Rice in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. In the 2004–05 academic year, Milwaukee's men's soccer team defeated 16th-ranked San Francisco, while Detroit upset Michigan in women's soccer in their respective NCAA tournaments. Also that year, Butler's men's cross country team finished fourth in the nation at the NCAA Cross-Country Championships, and their own Victoria Mitchell became the first Horizon League athlete to win an individual national title when she captured the 3,000 Meter Steeplechase at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Green Bay also upset 6th-ranked Oregon State in the opening round of the NCAA softball tournament.
Although the league does not sponsor football, Youngstown State plays in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, while Valparaiso plays in the Pioneer Football League, both of which play in Division I FCS. Cleveland State currently does not have a football team but is considering launching a non-scholarship FCS football program in the near future, giving the city of Cleveland its first Division I college football team. Milwaukee has also looked into reviving its football program as recently as 2011.
|School||Soccer stadium||Capacity||Basketball arena||Capacity||Baseball field||Capacity||Softball field||Capacity|
|Belmont||E. S. Rose Park||300||Men's soccer-only member|
|Cleveland State||Krenzler Field||1,680||Wolstein Center||13,610||Non-baseball school||Viking Field||500|
|Detroit||Titan Soccer Field||500||Calihan Hall||8,295||Non-baseball school||Buysse Ballpark||N/A|
|Green Bay||Aldo Santaga Stadium||3,500||Resch Center (men)
Kress Events Center (women)
|Non-baseball school||Phoenix Softball Field||500|
|Milwaukee||Engelmann Field||2,200||UW–Milwaukee Panther Arena (men)
Klotsche Center (women)
|Henry Aaron Field||500||Non-softball school|
|Northern Kentucky||NKU Soccer Stadium||1,000||BB&T Arena||9,400||Bill Aker Baseball Complex||500||Frank Ignatius Grein Softball Field||500|
|Oakland||Oakland University Soccer Field||1,000||Athletics Center O'rena||4,005||Oakland University Baseball Field||500||OU Softball Field||250|
|UIC||Flames Field||1,000||UIC Pavilion||6,958||Les Miller Field||1,000||Flames Field||500|
|Valparaiso||Brown Field (men)
Eastgate Field (women)
|Athletics–Recreation Center||5,000||Emory G. Bauer Field||500||Valpo Softball Field||500|
|Wright State||Alumni Field||1,000||Nutter Center||10,449||Nischwitz Stadium||750||WSU Softball Field||N/A|
|Youngstown State||Farmers National Bank Field||200||Beeghly Center (primary)
Covelli Centre (special events)
|Eastwood Field||6,300||YSU Softball Complex||100|
- "2010 NCAA Men's Basketball RPI". Web1.ncaa.org. Retrieved 2013-05-09.
- "Division I Men's Basketball Championship History". NCAA.com. 2011-02-25. Retrieved 2013-05-09.
- "Men's College Basketball Rating Percentage Index (RPI) Ratings - A leading sports ratings and resources community on the Internet". Realtimerpi.com. 2007-08-05. Retrieved 2013-05-09.
- "NCAA College Basketball RPI Rankings (updated today)". Teamrankings.com. 2013-04-15. Retrieved 2013-05-09.
- History – Horizon League.
- Press Release. Valpo to Join Horizon League in 2007-2008 May 17, 2006.
- "Report: Loyola to Missouri Valley". ESPNChicago.com. Associated Press. April 14, 2013. Retrieved April 14, 2013.
- "Oakland University to Join" (Press release). Horizon League. Retrieved May 9, 2013.
- "Northern Kentucky University to Join Horizon League in July" (Press release). Horizon League. May 11, 2015. Retrieved May 2015.
- HLN-Horizon League Network: Home
- "Frequently Asked Questions: 2015 Best Colleges Rankings". US News & World Report LP. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
- "HorizonLeague.com". Horizon League. 2013-05-05. Retrieved 2013-05-09.
- NCAA tournament records by conference, through 2006
- Butler To Induct Seven Individuals, Two Teams Into Hall of Fame :: National championship basketball squads of 1924 and 1929 to become first teams enshrined
- Player Bio: Jonathan B. LeCrone :: Genrel
- 3-28-05 NCAA Division I Basketball Rankings
- Butler barks its way to No. 9 spot in weekly ESPN/USA Today national poll, 10th in AP (Horizon League), retrieved 2010-03-31
- Cleveland State Ballot Initiatives, (Cleveland State - Student Life - Board of Elections), retrieved 2010-06-19.
- Cleveland State considers a new name and a new football team, (Cleveland.com), retrieved 2010-06-19.
- "Farmers National Bank Field". Youngstown State University. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
- "Eastwood Field". Youngstown State University. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
- "YSU Softball Complex". Youngstown State University. Retrieved December 10, 2014.