Oakland U. joining Horizon League

It took 10 years, but the Oakland-Detroit basketball rivalry is back.

Oakland’s Board of Trustees unanimously accepted an invitation Tuesday for the Golden Grizzlies to join the Horizon League effective July 1.

All 18 of Oakland’s athletic teams will begin competition in the Horizon in the 2013-14 academic year. Oakland is leaving the Summit League, which it joined in 1999-2000 after moving to Division I.

“Moving to the Horizon League allows us to associate and compete with institutions with outstanding academic profiles and values,” athletic director Tracy Huth said in a statement. “They emphasize the experience of the student-athlete.

“It also gives us the opportunity to play the University of Detroit Mercy on a regular basis for some spirited metro Detroit competition.”

Detroit blocked Oakland’s first attempt at joining the Horizon League, in 2002, and the schools have not met on the basketball floor since 2003. The Titans were due to visit the O’Rena in 2004, but the game was never played.

Oakland coach Greg Kampe said in 2011 that he didn’t think the schools would ever play again because of the Titans’ refusal to come to Oakland. That, obviously, will now change with the schools being in the same conference.

Oakland will also be reunited with former archrival Valparaiso. The Crusaders won their first 16 games against the Golden Grizzlies when both schools were in the Summit League.

Oakland has won four of the last five games against Valpo, including a non-league victory on Dec. 17, 2011.

“Oakland University is pleased to be the newest member of the Horizon League,” Oakland University president Gary Russi said. “The universities in this conference are strong academically and they value the student-athlete experience.

“Oakland fits well with them and we look forward to being part of their tradition of excellence.”

Along with Oakland, Valparaiso and Detroit, the Horizon League consists of Cleveland State, Green Bay, Milwaukee, UIC, Wright State and Youngstown State.