had long been speculated Oakland could possibly be excluded from the
Horizon because of a minimum-seating requirement for basketball venues
set at 5,000 seats. Oakland’s O’rena, as you may know, has a capacity of
3,000 seats, but can be stretched to nearly 4,000 with the help of
standing-room only admission.
director of athletics Tracy Huth addressed the stipulation early in his
presentation to the Board of Trustees Tuesday, saying the school will
apply to the conference seeking leniency through a waiver. Huth was
confident the Horizon would grant such a request, but noted a backup
plan is in place for Oakland to play its conference games at The Palace
of Auburn Hills.
intriguing factor unfathomable in the Summit League, is the possibility
Oakland could host conference tournament games at the O’rena.
Horizon tournament plays opening-round games at the site of the
higher-seeded team, with semifinals moving to the home court of the No. 1
seed. The championship game is then played on the home floor of the
highest-seeded remaining team.
will be a packed house and we’ll pack them in,” Huth said of the
possibility. “You’re probably not going to find a more exciting venue to
play in. That’s an attractive thing. If you look at the numbers of the
conference tournaments, whether it’s on the men’s or women’s side, some
of the bigger conferences have great attendance, but attendance is an
issue at those conference tournaments, so the ability to pack the place
to the rafters and to give your students the ability and fans the
opportunity here, that’s a great thing. It will be great whether we’re
playing here or Valpo, or (wherever).”
had previously pitched a joint bid with Palace Sports and Entertainment
to host the Summit League tournament at The Palace, but the plans were
scrapped because The Palace was already obligated to host Disney on Ice.
an afterthought to the reduction in conference travel, potentially
having a home crowd to cheer them during a conference tournament game is
another welcoming thought to joining the Horizon League.