Horizon League
FormerlyMidwestern City Conference (1979–1985)
Midwestern Collegiate Conference (1985–2001)
Founded1979; 45 years ago (1979)
CommissionerJulie Roe Lach (since 2021)
Sports fielded
  • 19
    • men's: 9
    • women's: 10
DivisionDivision I
No. of teams11 + 7 affiliate members
HeadquartersIndianapolis, Indiana
Official websitehorizonleague.org
Location of teams in

The Horizon League is a collegiate athletic conference in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I. Headquartered in Indianapolis, the league's eleven member schools are located in and near the Great Lakes region.

The Horizon League founded in 1979 as the Midwestern City Conference. The conference changed its name to Midwestern Collegiate Conference in 1985 and then the Horizon League in 2001. The conference started with a membership of six teams and has fluctuated in size with 24 different schools as members at different times. The League currently has 11 members.

The Horizon League currently sponsors 19 sports and is a non-football conference.


Foundation (1978–1979)

In May 1978, DePaul University hosted a meeting with representatives from Bradley, Dayton, Detroit, Illinois State, Loyola–Chicago, Air Force, and Xavier who 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.[1] As of the 2023–24 academic year, Detroit, now known as Detroit Mercy, is the only remaining member from the league's original members.

Midwestern Collegiate Conference logo from 1985 to 2001

Maturity (1980–1992)

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (August 2023) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

In 1980, the league established its headquarters in Champaign, Illinois. The MCC gained an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament 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. Three changes occurred in the summer of 1985: Oklahoma City dropped out of the NCAA altogether; the conference name was altered slightly to Midwestern Collegiate Conference; and the conference began sponsoring women's athletics. 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[clarification needed] in 1986. In 1987, Oral Roberts left the conference while Dayton joined and Notre Dame rejoined. The conference earned its first at-large bid to the men's basketball tournament and automatic qualification to the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship in 1989. In 1991, the conference received an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I women's basketball tournament and 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.

Modern era (1990–present)

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 Conference to join the Midwestern Collegiate Conference beginning with the 1994–95 academic year.[1] With Evansville's departure to the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), 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 initials causing confusion between the MCC and the Mid-Continent Conference, who also used the initials. That year, Youngstown State University joined from the Mid-Con, and on May 17, 2006, Valparaiso University announced it would do the same in 2007.[2]

In April 2013, the split of the original Big East Conference caused a ripple effect that fell to the Horizon League; Loyola announced that it would leave the Horizon League effective July 1 to join the Missouri Valley Conference, who itself lost Creighton to the reconfigured Big East.[3]

Butler also left the Horizon League. They spent a season in the Atlantic 10 before joining the Big East.

The Horizon announced that Oakland University, formerly of the Summit League, would immediately replace Loyola within a month.[4]

The next change in the Horizon League's membership came in 2015 with the arrival of Northern Kentucky University from the Atlantic Sun Conference.[5]

Two more membership changes were announced near the end of the 2016–17 school year. First, Valparaiso announced on May 25, 2017, that it would leave for the MVC effective July 1. The Crusaders replaced Wichita State, who announced that it would leave the MVC for the American Athletic Conference.[6] Three days before Valparaiso's departure, the Horizon League Board of Directors unanimously approved the membership of Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) to replace Valparaiso, also effective July 1.[7]

The start of the 2020s set further membership changes into motion, with the arrivals of Purdue Fort Wayne and Robert Morris from the Summit League and the Northeast Conference (NEC), respectively, announced on August 5, 2019[8] and June 15, 2020.[9] This brought the Horizon League up to 12 full-time members for the first time since the 1994-95 season. It was short-lived, however, as the UIC Flames were reported to be following many of their former conference colleagues to the MVC effective July 1, 2022.[10]

On July 6, 2022, the Horizon League and Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) jointly announced that they would merge their men's tennis leagues under the Horizon banner, effective immediately. The five OVC members that sponsored the sport became Horizon associates. At the same time, the Horizon announced that Belmont, which had just left the OVC for the Missouri Valley Conference (which sponsors tennis only for women), would become a men's tennis associate,[11] and Chicago State, which became a D-I independent after leaving the Western Athletic Conference days earlier, would become an associate in both men's and women's tennis.[12] Two tennis associates will leave after the 2023–24 season. Men's and women's associate Chicago State will join the NEC, which sponsors the sport for both sexes,[13] and men's associate Lindenwood will drop nine NCAA sports, including men's tennis.[14]

Prior to the 2023–24 academic year, the conference announced a brand refresh with the introduction of a new secondary logo. The logo is a gold stylized H that incorporates the arch of the conference's primary logo and a number one to symbolize unity.[15]

As of the 2023–24 academic year, eight of the 11 full Horizon League members are former members of the Mid-Con (now known as the Summit League), with the exceptions being Detroit Mercy, Northern Kentucky, and Robert Morris.

Member schools

Current full members

Institution Location Founded Joined Type Enrollment Endowment
Nickname Colors
Cleveland State University Cleveland, Ohio 1964 1994 Public 16,418 $89.8 Vikings    
University of Detroit Mercy Detroit, Michigan 1877 1980 Private (Jesuit) 5,700 $94.0 Titans      
University of Wisconsin–Green Bay Green Bay, Wisconsin 1965 1994 Public 8,873 $130.0 Phoenix    
Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis[a] Indianapolis, Indiana 1969 2017 Public 30,105 $1,150 Jaguars      
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Milwaukee, Wisconsin 1956 1994 Public 33,502 $262.0 Panthers    
Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, Kentucky 1968 2015 Public 15,405 $119.2 Norse      
Oakland University Rochester, Michigan[b] 1957 2013 Public 20,519 $102.1 Golden Grizzlies    
Purdue University Fort Wayne Fort Wayne, Indiana 1964[c] 2020 Public 10,208 $79.5 Mastodons    
Robert Morris University Moon Township, Pennsylvania 1921 2020 Private (non-sectarian) 4,895 $38.2 Colonials      
Wright State University Fairborn, Ohio[d] 1964 1994 Public 17,074 $95.5 Raiders    
Youngstown State University Youngstown, Ohio 1908 2001 Public 15,058 $275.9 Penguins    
  1. ^ In 2024, the Indiana University and Purdue University system systems will dissolve IUPUI, replacing it with separate IU- and Purdue-affiliated institutions. The athletic program will transfer to the new IU Indianapolis, with the branding yet to be announced.[16]
  2. ^ The Oakland campus has a Rochester mailing address, but is located in the separate cities of Auburn Hills and Rochester Hills. The university administration is in Auburn Hills; athletic facilities are in both cities.
  3. ^ Purdue Fort Wayne (PFW) did not begin operation until 2018, but inherited its athletic program from Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), founded in 1964. IPFW was dissolved in 2018 by the IU and Purdue systems, with each system establishing a new Fort Wayne institution.[17]
  4. ^ The Wright State campus is physically located in Fairborn but has a Dayton mailing address.

Associate members

Institution Location Founded Joined Type Enrollment Nickname Sport(s) Primary conference
Belmont University Nashville, Tennessee 1890 2022 Private (Christian) 8,700 Bruins Men's tennis MVC
Chicago State University Chicago, Illinois 1867 2022 Public
2,620 Cougars Men's and women's tennis Independent
(NEC in 2024)
Eastern Illinois University Charleston, Illinois 1895 2022 Public 8,857 Panthers Men's tennis OVC
Lindenwood University St. Charles, Missouri 1827 2022 Private (non-sectarian) 7,374 Lions Men's tennis OVC
University of Southern Indiana Evansville, Indiana 1965 2022 Public 9,758 Screaming Eagles Men's tennis OVC
Tennessee State University Nashville, Tennessee 1912 2022 Public
8,775 Tigers Men's tennis OVC
Tennessee Technological University Cookeville, Tennessee 1915 2022 Public 10,492 Golden Eagles Men's tennis OVC

Former full members

Nicknames and school names reflect those used in the last school year of conference membership.

Institution Location Founded Joined Left Type Nickname Left for Current
Butler University Indianapolis, Indiana 1855 1979 2012 Private Bulldogs Atlantic 10 Big East
University of Dayton Dayton, Ohio 1850 1987 1993 Private Flyers Great Midwest Atlantic 10
Duquesne University Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1878 1992 1993 Private Dukes Atlantic 10
University of Evansville Evansville, Indiana 1854 1979 1994 Private Purple Aces Missouri Valley
University of Illinois Chicago Chicago, Illinois 1946 1994 2022 Public Flames Missouri Valley
La Salle University Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1863 1992 1995 Private Explorers Atlantic 10
Loyola University Chicago Chicago, Illinois 1870 1979 2013[3] Private Ramblers Missouri Valley A-10
Marquette University Milwaukee, Wisconsin 1881 1988[a] 1991 Private Warriors Great Midwest Big East
Northern Illinois University DeKalb, Illinois 1895 1994 1997 Public Huskies Mid-American
University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, Indiana 1842 1982 1986 Private Fighting Irish Big East ACC
1987[b] 1995
Oklahoma City University Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 1904 1979 1985 Private Chiefs Sooner (NAIA)
Oral Roberts University Tulsa, Oklahoma 1963 1979 1987 Private Titans Independent Summit
Saint Louis University St. Louis, Missouri 1818 1981[c] 1991 Private Billikens Great Midwest Atlantic 10
Valparaiso University Valparaiso, Indiana 1859 2007 2017 Private Crusaders Missouri Valley
Xavier University Cincinnati, Ohio 1831 1979 1995 Private Musketeers Atlantic 10 Big East
  1. ^ The Marquette men's basketball team joined the Horizon League a year after becoming a full member for other sports (1989–90).
  2. ^ Notre Dame re-joined the Horizon (then the MCC) for all men's sports except basketball after a season as an Independent (1986–87 school year). 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).
  3. ^ The Saint Louis men's basketball team joined the Horizon League a year after it became a full member for other sports (1982–83).

Membership timeline

Horizon LeagueHorizon LeagueHorizon LeagueRobert Morris UniversityNortheast ConferenceNortheast ConferenceNCAA Division I independent schoolsPurdue University Fort WayneSummit LeagueNCAA Division I independent schoolsGreat Lakes Valley ConferenceNCAA Division II independent schoolsNCAA Division III independent schoolsIndiana University – IndianapolisIndiana University – Purdue University IndianapolisSummit LeagueSummit LeagueNCAA Division II independent schoolsNAIA independent schoolsNorthern Kentucky UniversityASUN ConferenceGreat Lakes Valley ConferenceNCAA Division II independent schoolsOakland UniversitySummit LeagueSummit LeagueGreat Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic ConferenceMissouri Valley ConferenceValparaiso UniversitySummit LeagueSummit LeagueNCAA Division I independent schoolsYoungstown State UniversitySummit LeagueNCAA Division I FCS independent schoolsOhio Valley ConferenceNCAA Division II independent schoolsWright State UniversitySummit LeagueNCAA Division I independent schoolsNCAA Division II independent schoolsUniversity of Wisconsin–MilwaukeeSummit LeagueNCAA Division I independent schoolsNCAA Division I independent schoolsNAIA independent schoolsNCAA Division III independent schoolsNCAA Division I independent schoolsUniversity of Wisconsin–Green BaySummit LeagueSummit LeagueNCAA Division I independent schoolsNAIA Division I independent schoolsMissouri Valley ConferenceUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoSummit LeagueSummit LeagueChicagoland Collegiate Athletic ConferenceCleveland State UniversitySummit LeagueSummit LeagueNCAA Division I independent schoolsMid-American ConferenceNorthern Illinois UniversitySummit LeagueNCAA Division I FBS independent schoolsMid-American ConferenceAtlantic 10 ConferenceLa Salle UniversityMetro Atlantic Athletic ConferenceEast Coast Conference (Division I)Atlantic 10 ConferenceDuquesne UniversityAtlantic 10 ConferenceBig East ConferenceBig East Conference (1979–2013)Conference USAGreat Midwest ConferenceMarquette UniversityNCAA Division I independent schoolsAtlantic 10 ConferenceGreat Midwest ConferenceUniversity of DaytonNCAA Division I independent schoolsAtlantic Coast ConferenceBig East Conference (1979–2013)University of Notre DameNCAA Division I FBS independent schoolsAtlantic 10 ConferenceConference USAGreat Midwest ConferenceSaint Louis UniversityMetro ConferenceUniversity of Detroit MercyUniversity of Detroit MercyNCAA Division I independent schoolsAtlantic 10 ConferenceMissouri Valley ConferenceLoyola University ChicagoBig East ConferenceAtlantic 10 ConferenceButler UniversityBig East ConferenceAtlantic 10 ConferenceXavier UniversityMissouri Valley ConferenceUniversity of EvansvilleSummit LeagueSouthland ConferenceSummit LeagueSummit LeagueNCAA Division I independent schoolsNAIA independent schoolsNCAA Division I independent schoolsOral Roberts UniversitySooner Athletic ConferenceOklahoma City University

Full members  Affiliate members  Other Conference  Other Conference 

The Horizon League sponsors championship competition in nine men's and ten women's NCAA sanctioned sports:[18]

For 2020–21, Detroit Mercy, Wright State and Green Bay announced eliminating men’s and women’s tennis, while Youngstown State reinstated men's swimming & diving.

Teams in Horizon League competition
Sport Men's Women's
Baseball 6
Basketball 12 12
Cross country 11 12
Golf 10 9
Soccer 11 12
Softball 10
Swimming and diving 7 7
Tennis 11 7
Track and field (indoor) 8 11
Track and field (outdoor) 8 11
Volleyball 11

Men's sponsored sports by school

Departing members in pink.

School Baseball Basketball Cross Country Golf Soccer Swimming & Diving Tennis Track & Field
Track & Field
Total Horizon Sports
Cleveland State No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No 5
Detroit Mercy No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes 6
Green Bay No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No 5
IUPUI No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 8
Milwaukee Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes 7
Northern Kentucky Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No[a] Yes Yes Yes 8
Oakland Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes 8
Purdue Fort Wayne Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes 7
Robert Morris No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No No 3
Wright State Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes 7
Youngstown State Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes 8
Associate members
Belmont Yes 1
Chicago State Yes 1
Eastern Illinois Yes 1
Lindenwood Yes 1
Southern Indiana Yes 1
Tennessee State Yes 1
Tennessee Tech Yes 1
Totals 6 11 10 10 10 6 11 7 7 78
  1. ^ Northern Kentucky will add men's swimming & diving in 2024–25.[19]

Men's varsity sports not sponsored by the Horizon League which are played by Horizon schools:

School Fencing[a] Football Ice hockey Lacrosse Skiing[b] Volleyball Wrestling
Cleveland State Independent No No ASUN[c] No No MAC
Detroit Mercy Independent No No ASUN[c] No No No
Green Bay No No No No CCSA[d] No No
Northern Kentucky No No No No No No[e] No
Purdue Fort Wayne No No No No No MIVA No
Robert Morris No Big South–OVC[c] Atlantic Hockey ASUN[c] No No No
Youngstown State No MVFC No No No No No

In addition to the above sports, Northern Kentucky will add men's triathlon, which has no NCAA recognition of any kind, as a varsity sport in 2024–25.[19]

  1. ^ NCAA fencing is a coeducational sport, with schools fielding men's and women's squads.
  2. ^ NCAA skiing is a coeducational sport, with schools fielding men's and women's squads.
  3. ^ a b c d Joining the Northeast Conference in 2024.
  4. ^ NCAA skiing includes both Nordic and Alpine disciplines, but Green Bay fields only a Nordic team.
  5. ^ Northern Kentucky will add men's volleyball in 2025–26.[19]

Women's sponsored sports by school

Departing member in pink.

School Basketball Cross Country Golf Soccer Softball Swimming & Diving Tennis Track & Field
Track & Field
Volleyball Total Horizon Sports
Cleveland State Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 10
Detroit Mercy Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No 7
Green Bay Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes 7
IUPUI Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 10
Milwaukee Yes Yes No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 8
Northern Kentucky Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No[a] Yes Yes Yes Yes 9
Oakland Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 10
Purdue Fort Wayne Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes 8
Robert Morris Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes 7
Wright State Yes Yes No Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes 6
Youngstown State Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 10
Associate member
Chicago State Yes 1
Totals 11 11 8 11 9 6 7 10 10 10 81
  1. ^ Northern Kentucky will add women's swimming & diving in 2024–25.[19]

Women's varsity sports not sponsored by the Horizon League which are played by Horizon schools:

School Bowling Fencing[a] Ice hockey Lacrosse Rowing Skiing[b] Stunt[c] Triathlon[c]
Cleveland State No Independent No No No No No No
Detroit Mercy No Independent No MAC No No No No
Green Bay No No No No No CCSA[d] No No
Northern Kentucky No No No No No No No[e] No[e]
Robert Morris No No CHA MAC MAAC No No No
Wright State Independent No No No No No No No
Youngstown State CUSA No No MAC No No No No
  1. ^ NCAA fencing is a coeducational sport, with schools fielding men's and women's squads.
  2. ^ NCAA skiing is a coeducational sport, with schools fielding men's and women's squads.
  3. ^ a b Part of the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women program.
  4. ^ NCAA skiing includes both Nordic and Alpine disciplines, but Green Bay fields only a Nordic team.
  5. ^ a b Northern Kentucky will add stunt and triathlon in 2024–25.[19]

Broadcasting rights

In 2006, the conference launched the Horizon League Network (HLN) as the centerpiece of a revamped web portal.[20] The digital network aired over 200 live events free on the league's official website at the time.

The Horizon League and WebStream Productions launched a completely redesigned HLN website in September 2009. The site 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.

The Horizon League Network migrated to ESPN3 in 2014, and over 700 events streamed live in 2015–16. Horizon League coverage was absorbed into ESPN+, along with other mid-major conferences, in 2018.[21] The conference extended its deal with ESPN in 2021. Over 500 events are aired on ESPN+ annually, along with select men's basketball games airing on ESPN2 and ESPNU and the men's and women's basketball championships airing on ESPN and ESPNU.[22]

Basketball games not selected for broadcast on national linear television are often televised by regional sports networks and over-the-air channels within the teams’ home markets. In recent years, WMYD Detroit, Marquee Sports Network, Bally Sports Ohio, Bally Sports Great Lakes, Bally Sports Wisconsin, and SportsNet Pittsburgh have broadcast multiple men’s and women’s basketball contests.

Men's basketball

Horizon League men's basketball tournament champions

Main article: Horizon League men's basketball tournament


From 1995 to 2011, the Horizon League sent an impressive 24 qualifiers (7 At-Large berths) to the Men's NCAA basketball tournament, making the Horizon League one of the most prolific mid-major (non-power 6) conferences in all of college basketball. Even more impressively, those 24 clubs produced 22 wins in that span, including five "Sweet 16" appearances, making the Horizon League the only non-BCS conference to have Sweet 16 participants in five NCAA tournaments during that span (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 also compiled a 19–12 record in the NCAA tournament from 2003-2011, ranking tops among all 32 NCAA Division I conferences for winning percentage (.613) in March Madness during that span. This historic stretch of conference dominance was thanks to NCAA Tournament wins from Butler (15), Milwaukee (3), and Cleveland State (1) . Butler appeared in the men's national championship game in both 2010 and 2011. 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 32 Division I conferences).[23]

One former Horizon League member claims a national championship from the era before the league's creation. In the 1963 NCAA Division I men's 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.[24]

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.[25]


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 Division I men's 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 earned both an at-large bid and a 12 seed, made its 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 falling 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. 14 (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.[26]


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. The league had a team advance past the first round for the second straight year and third time in the last four years.


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 rank in the Top 10 of the national college basketball polls, as the Bulldogs reached No. 9 and No. 10 in the ESPN/USA Today and AP polls, respectively.[27] 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, who extended their record against BCS schools to 10–1 since the start 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. Cleveland State also 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 that Cleveland State won and earned the Horizon League's automatic bid to the NCAA Tourney while Butler earned 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 call 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 (who 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 straight season.


In the 2012 postseason, the Detroit Titans won their first Horizon League Championship since 1999 under head coach Ray McCallum. They defeated top seeded Valparaiso 70–50. The tournament MVP was son Ray McCallum, Jr.


Valparaiso was the regular season champion of the Horizon for the second straight year. It defeated Wright State 62–54 in the championship game under coach Bryce Drew for its first Horizon League Championship. This was the first season that the league was absent of Butler, who departed for the Atlantic 10.


Green Bay won the regular season championship in 2014. It was upset by Milwaukee in the tournament semi-final. Milwaukee would go on to win the tournament, knocking off Wright State.


Following a good outcome, finishing as the 2014 champions, the Milwaukee Panthers were banned from the 2015 NCAA Tournament and postseason play. Valparaiso won the regular and postseason championships. It entered the NCAA tournament as a 13th seed, although losing in the first round.


The 2015 season ushered in the arrival of the Northern Kentucky Norse to the league, who departed from the Atlantic Sun Conference. Valparaiso won the regular season championship again but was defeated by Green Bay in the tournament championship 78–69.

Other sports

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, current members Robert Morris and Youngstown State play in Division I FCS. Youngstown State plays in the Missouri Valley Football Conference; Robert Morris originally planned to play the 2020–21 season as an independent and join Big South Conference football in July 2021,[28] but COVID-19 issues led the Big South to bring Robert Morris into its football league for its rescheduled spring 2021 season.[29]


School Soccer stadium Capacity Basketball arena Capacity Baseball field Capacity Softball field Capacity
Cleveland State Krenzler Field 1,680 Wolstein Center 13,610[a] Non-baseball school Viking Field 500
Detroit Mercy Titan Soccer Field 500 Calihan Hall 8,295 Non-baseball school Buysse Ballpark 500
Green Bay Aldo Santaga Stadium 3,500 Resch Center (men)
Kress Events Center (women)
Non-baseball school Phoenix Softball Field 500
IUPUI Carroll Stadium 12,111 Indiana Farmers Coliseum (men)
The Jungle (women)
Non-baseball school IUPUI Softball Complex 500
Milwaukee Engelmann Stadium 2,200 UW–Milwaukee Panther Arena (men)
Klotsche Center (women)
Franklin Field 4,000 Non-softball school
Northern Kentucky NKU Soccer Stadium 1,000 Truist 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
Purdue Fort Wayne Hefner Soccer Complex 2,000 Hilliard Gates Sports Center
Allen County War Memorial Coliseum (special events)
Mastodon Field 200 Purdue Fort Wayne Softball Field 500
Robert Morris North Athletic Complex UPMC Events Center 4,000 Non-baseball school North Athletic Complex
Wright State Alumni Field 1,000 Nutter Center 10,449 Nischwitz Stadium 750 WSU Softball Field
Youngstown State Farmers National Bank Field 200[30] Beeghly Center
Covelli Centre (special events)
Eastwood Field 6,300[31] YSU Softball Complex 100[32]
  1. ^ Full capacity; for most games, Cleveland State limits capacity to 8,500.

See also


  1. ^ a b "History – Horizon League". Archived from the original on 2014-03-24. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
  2. ^ Press Release. Valpo to Join Horizon League in 2007–2008 May 17, 2006.
  3. ^ a b "Report: Loyola to Missouri Valley". ESPNChicago.com. Associated Press. April 14, 2013. Retrieved April 14, 2013.
  4. ^ "Oakland University to Join" (Press release). Horizon League. Archived from the original on June 29, 2013. Retrieved May 9, 2013.
  5. ^ "Northern Kentucky University to Join Horizon League in July" (Press release). Horizon League. May 11, 2015. Archived from the original on May 14, 2015.
  6. ^ Osipoff, Michael (May 25, 2017). "Valparaiso makes it official, accepts Missouri Valley Conference invitation". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  7. ^ "IUPUI to join Horizon League". WISH TV 8. June 28, 2017.
  8. ^ "Purdue University Fort Wayne to Join Horizon League" (Press release). Horizon League. August 5, 2019. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  9. ^ "Robert Morris to Join Horizon League" (Press release). Horizon League. June 15, 2020. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  10. ^ Norlander, Matt (January 22, 2022). "UIC to join Missouri Valley Conference in July, rounding out league's expansion effort at 12 teams". CBSSports.com. Retrieved January 23, 2022.
  11. ^ "Men's Tennis Accepts Affiliate Membership in Horizon League" (Press release). Belmont Bruins. July 6, 2022. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  12. ^ "Horizon League Announces Innovative Partnership with Ohio Valley Conference and Men's Tennis Programs, Adds Chicago State as an Affiliate Member for Men's and Women's Tennis" (Press release). Horizon League. July 6, 2022. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  13. ^ "Windy City Welcome: Chicago State Roars Into NEC" (Press release). Northeast Conference. December 5, 2023. Retrieved December 5, 2023.
  14. ^ "Athletic Department Special Announcement" (Press release). Lindenwood Lions. December 1, 2023. Retrieved December 2, 2023.
  15. ^ "Horizon League to 'recharge' brand image ahead of new year". Inside INdiana Business. Retrieved 2023-08-18.
  16. ^ Tryon, Matthew (August 12, 2022). "What's next for IUPUI athletics? Staying in the Horizon League and 'tough decisions'". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved August 14, 2022.
  17. ^ "Goodbye IPFW, hello Purdue Fort Wayne". Journal & Courier, a division of Gannett Company, Inc. April 21, 2017. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  18. ^ "Horizon League Championships". Horizon League. Archived from the original on December 22, 2013. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  19. ^ a b c d e "Northern Kentucky Athletics to expand with six new sports programs" (Press release). Northern Kentucky Norse. November 8, 2023. Retrieved November 9, 2023.
  20. ^ "Horizon Sport". Horizon Sport.
  21. ^ "Horizon League Partners with ESPN+". Wright State University Athletics. 2018-04-17. Retrieved 2023-08-18.
  22. ^ Staff, S. V. G. (2021-09-09). "ESPN Continues Partnership With Horizon League". Sports Video Group. Retrieved 2023-08-18.
  23. ^ "NCAA tournament records by conference, through 2006" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-11-23. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
  24. ^ "CBS Sports – News, Live Scores, Schedules, Fantasy Games, Video and more". CBSSports.com.
  25. ^ "Player Bio: Jonathan B. LeCrone :: Genrel".
  26. ^ "2018–19 Men's College Basketball Rankings for Week 9". ESPN.
  27. ^ Butler barks its way to No. 9 spot in weekly ESPN/USA Today national poll, 10th in AP (Horizon League), retrieved 2010-03-31
  28. ^ "Big South Conference Adds Robert Morris University as Football Member" (Press release). Big South Conference. June 15, 2020. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  29. ^ "Big South Announces Football 2021 Spring Schedule" (Press release). Big South Conference. November 9, 2020. Retrieved December 23, 2020.
  30. ^ "Farmers National Bank Field". Youngstown State University. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  31. ^ "Eastwood Field". Youngstown State University. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  32. ^ "YSU Softball Complex". Youngstown State University. Retrieved December 10, 2014.