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Drew Ellis covers Oakland University basketball for The Oakland Press. His news and notes keep you up to date with Golden Grizzlies men's basketball.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Could Oakland leave the Summit League? Never say never

Oral Roberts' long-rumored departure from the Summit League became reality in a Tuesday press conference. The reaction from league was brief, highlighted by comments from commissioner Tom Douple, which gave the impression the move was long-awaited: 
"It is not a surprise Oral Roberts accepted the opportunity to align itself with a more geographic conference," he said. "The decision further tightens the Summit League’s midwestern footprint."
The program has to pay a $250,000 buyout fee to leave the league and another $100,000 to join the Southland Conference, according to the Tulsa World, which the university intends to do next summer.
That leaves Oakland fans buzzing, wondering if and when Oakland could or would ever leave the Summit League for a closer league such as the Horizon League. 
"You never say never about something like that," Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. "Oral Roberts did what they think is best for their university. Oakland and our president will always do what they think is best for our university. Could that mean moving leagues? Sure. Could that mean staying for 20 more years? Sure. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future."
Kampe presumes Oral Roberts' departure to be a cost-cutting measure, with Southland opponents being closer in proximity than those of the Summit, which is notoriously spread across the country.
Oral Roberts will be the sixth team to leave the conference, formerly the Mid-Continent, in Kampe's nearly 30-year tenure. Long-time rival Valparaiso, which is again on Oakland's non-conference schedule, left the Mid-Con in 2006.
“This league has grown," Kampe said. "I’m going to miss that rivalry. It takes a long time to build that. We had some games. Both teams have to win them.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oakland has outgrown their current league - a good move for them would be the MAC or the Horizon league

October 29, 2011 at 4:54 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

both of those conferences would definitely be upgrades. the horizon has a 6000 person capacity minimum for arenas. im not sure if the MAC has any bylaw that are similar.

you can bet that detroit would always try to block a move to the horizon. not sure how western/central/eastern would feel about OU joining. western starts a 4 year deal with OU this year & EMU has played OU a bunch this decade.

November 2, 2011 at 1:17 AM 

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