Oakland University to Move to Horizon League

Oakland University announced this week they have formally accepted an invitation from the Horizon League, effective July 1 of this year.  The Golden Grizzlies (based in Rochester, Michigan) will be departing the little-known Summit League in favor of the  Horizon, providing them with reduced travel time, better recruiting options in Midwestern areas, and more competitive rivalries.

The Horizon League is currently home to eight schools: Cleveland State, Detroit Mercy, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Illinois-Chicago, Valparaiso, Wright State and Youngstown State.  A spot in the conference opened up earlier this year after Loyola (Ill.) jumped ship to the Missouri Valley Conference, filling a vacancy there when Creighton opted to join the reconfigured Big East.

Oakland has moved up the swimming ranks over the past three decades under renowned coach Pete Hovland, dominating the GLIAC for more than 20 years and winning four Division II men’s crowns before becoming a Division I school in 1997.  Since then, the Grizzlies have owned the Mid-Continent Conference (members and champions for both men and women from 2000-2007) and the Summit League (men’s and women’s titles from 2008-present).  All in all, the Grizzlies have been one of the more impressive mid-major teams in Division I; Hovland has had four men and three women qualify for the NCAA Championships in recent years.

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Looks like that will leave Denver as the favorite for the conference championship with their move to the Summit next year.

Okay, so I spent a few minutes the other day comparing OUs winning times from SLCs this year to that of the Horizon League. Bottom line: I’m excited they made the switch as it will give OU tougher competition. I mean.. they’ve been winning easily in almost every event for the past however many years. The schools in the Summit League are surely getting better themselves, but I think joining this conference will (hopefully) light a fire under OUs behind next season – especially on the women’s side. There’s not too many great pools around that area that I know of and theirs will be closed from the end of June until the start of the fall semester for maintenance..… Read more »

About Morgan Priestley

Morgan Priestley

A Stanford University and Birmingham, Michigan native, Morgan Priestley started writing for SwimSwam in February 2013 on a whim, and is loving that his tendency to follow and over-analyze swim results can finally be put to good use. Morgan swam competitively for 15+ years, primarily excelling in the mid-distance freestyles. While …

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