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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.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Butler's early departure may not mean anything for Oakland

This week we learned Butler is leaving the Horizon League -- a full season early than anticipated. And although its hastened departure seems like it would be a good thing for Oakland, it may not mean much.
The league still had not been in contact with Oakland as of Friday afternoon and commissioner John LeCrone made it clear when Butler first announced its intent to leave that the Horizon has operated as an odd-numbered conference in the past, which its shaping up to have next season. 
The circumstances surrounding Butler's earlier-than-expected exit, as outlined by ESPN's Eamonn Brennan, don't necessarily concern Oakland, but fans and media alike assume LeCrone and Co. will be knocking down the O'rena doors sometime in the near future. LeCrone seems content playing an abbreviated 16-game schedule with its nine remaining basketball members, rather than a full 18-game slate with 10 teams, Brennan reports.
"LeCrone said the league will have a true-round robin schedule and be fine next season. He said the league will look at expansion but made not overtures as to what direction the Horizon League would move in the near future." 
It remains to be seen if Oakland could manage to get its sports aligned in time for the fall seasons, if the Horizon were to extend membership, but considering the benefits the new conference would offer the school's programs, it's hard to imagine a scenario where Oakland declines. Regardless of what year it were asked to join.

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