Butler President James Danko and athletic director Barry Collier informed Horizon League officials on May 2 that the conference’s best-known school and one of its longest-tenured members would leave for the A-10 after making a farewell tour next season.Butler's early departure may not mean anything for Oakland--Grizzlies Den
Perhaps it was the reaction Butler expected to face during next season’s road trips.
"Actually we talked a little about that and we didn’t know how it would turn out," said guard Rotnei Clarke, who played at Arkansas but sat out last season because of NCAA transfer rules. "We figured the crowds would give us a little bit of something, that maybe it would be a little more amped up than it normally is. We also know there are going to be a lot of great atmospheres in the Atlantic 10."
Or maybe it was the reaction from the Horizon League presidents. CBSSports.com reported that the presidents wanted to make Butler’s teams ineligible for all league tournament titles, which would have kept Butler men’s basketball team from having a chance to seek an automatic NCAA tourney bid.
Stevens said he didn’t know if that was true. Collier declined to comment on the report, citing an agreement with the Horizon League that allows Butler to leave the conference immediately. League officials have repeatedly said the agreement does not allow them to discuss Butler’s impending departure, either.
Whatever occurred, it expedited the move.
"We did announce we were leaving in 2013-14 and now we’re going a year early," Collier said. "But once people have their destination, they usually don’t mind getting there a little sooner."
Butler’s early move will force the conference to reduce the league schedule from 18 games to 16, giving each team two new open dates. Conference spokesman Bill Benner said he is not aware of any league mandate that would prohibit a Horizon League school from scheduling Butler.
The simplest solution might be adding a 10th member this summer. Don’t count on it.
"I think it would be fairly unlikely, if not fully unlikely, to add a team or teams that soon," Benner said.
"Like I said, the Horizon League deserves credit because it’s a lot better league than people think," Clarke said. "But I think the Atlantic 10 will give us a better chance to get there (NCAA tourney), and it will give us more exposure, too."
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2. Butler’s early move to the Atlantic 10 means Horizon League teams are trying to replace two games. Preseason favorite and last season’s regular-season champ Valparaiso is looking to replace the Bulldogs with a similar high-profile game. The Crusaders, who traditionally struggle to get home games, are at Nebraska, Missouri State and Kent State and are trying to get games with New Mexico and Kansas, both on the road, but not exclusive to those schools. The Crusaders will have a strong schedule, but it won’t be at home.Former Spartan Brandon Wood pleads guilty to trespassing--The Detroit Free Press