Oakland wants to fill Butler’s spot in Horizon
Oakland University wants to be in the Horizon League and hopes
it isn’t kept out by the University of Detroit – again.
”About 10 years ago, there was interest in us from the Horizon
League and Detroit stopped it,” Oakland coach Greg Kampe recalled.
”I know that’s a fact because I called the athletic director then,
Brad Kinsman, and he told me.”
Kinsman said Wednesday that Kampe’s recollection is
”The feeling back then was that it didn’t make sense to share
this market with another school in the same conference,” said
Kinsman, who retired in 2006. ”Times have changed, coaches have
changed, but I don’t know what the thinking is now.”
Everyone is left to guess because Detroit officials declined
comment on Oakland’s interest in joining the Horizon.
It also isn’t clear if the Horizon League wants the Golden
Grizzlies to fill the void created last week when Butler announced
plans to join the Atlantic 10.
Horizon League commissioner Jon LeCrone wouldn’t comment on
Oakland’s public interest. Officials from the Summit League, which
Oakland belongs to, also declined comment.
IUPUI and Robert Morris, in addition to Oakland, are also
potential candidates to take Butler’s spot during the 2013-14
season when the two-time national runner-up starts playing in the
”We’re not going to play this out in the media,” LeCrone said.
”These are delicate matters and we want to handle this process
”If we decide to go beyond the number of nine schools, which is
not absolutely necessary, we’ll do it in a prudent and thoughtful
Kampe said he has talked to coaches in the Horizon League and
all have been supportive of adding his program.
Has Kampe spoken to Detroit coach Ray McCallum about it?
”No, that is not a coach I’ve talked to about this,” he
If the Horizon League expresses an interest in Oakland, athletic
director Tracy Huth said he would reach out to Detroit
The Golden Grizzlies have earned a bid in the NCAA three times
since 2005, including twice in the last three years, from a league
that forces them to travel to South Dakota State and Southern Utah.
Geographically, it would make sense for a school based in
Rochester, Mich., to play in a league filled with teams from Ohio,
Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin – and a school about 20 miles to
Kampe also thinks it would be a wise move for the Horizon League
to add Oakland.
”I think we’ve proven ourselves,” Kampe said. ”If you look at
the last two years, we’d rank in the top third in the Horizon in
attendance and RPI. Basketball is the flagship of that league so
I’d think we’d help keep their RPI consistent after they lose
”And from a travel standpoint, we’re right in the middle of
their footprint. Teams could play Detroit and us on a Thursday and
Saturday and wouldn’t even have to change hotels.”
But the Titans still may not want to share the Motor City market
with another school in the same conference.
Kampe, though, believes it would be a win-win deal.
”I think an Oakland-Detroit rivalry would be huge in southeast
Michigan,” he said. ”When we played, there would be full houses,
we’d be on the front page of the Detroit News and Free Press. There
also would be television exposure that would help both schools and
the Horizon. I don’t see how it would be a negative for Detroit to
have us in the same league.”
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