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Oral Roberts to Return to Summit League

Category: Featured News, Southland Expansion & Realignment, Summit League Expansion & Realignment

Oral Roberts University Conference RealignmentIt’s been an interesting couple of days in the world of conference realignment. It appeared that business would be as usual, and that there were no sudden shifts on the horizon. And then, the Summit League announced that Oral Roberts was rejoining. The move, gives the Summit some much needed strength. The conference had been in a good position, even after losing Missouri – Kansas City to the WAC, but then lost Oakland to the Horizon, dropping their membership to 8. The was ample fear in the Summit that if a the Horizon came calling for any other schools, that the conference could be near it’s end. To the west, there is also the Big Sky, the home of North Dakota. If the Summit were to show further signs of weakness, Summit members South Dakota St., North Dakota St. and South Dakota could have been knocking on the Bis Sky door.

The Oral Roberts move falls into one of those strange categories of being unexpectedly expected. When Oral Roberts left the Summit, their goal was to align themselves with a conference that would permit less travel. Since the Southland is comprised of schools entirely in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, it was a sound theory. But with the further expansion of the Southland, priorities within the conference changed as well. You had the drive for football remain, so additional members with football became high priority such as Houston Baptist, Incarnate Word University and Abilene Christian University. New Orleans was also added, despite not having football.

So the reason behind the return of Oral Roberts to the Summit isn’t completely clear-cut. The Southland still would provide a more favorable travel routine with what one would assume would be a more economic travel budget. It’s just less expensive to travel from Oklahoma to Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas than it is to fly to the Dakotas, Illinois, Indiana, etc.  But a betting person could assume that with the direction of the Southland being perceived as going one way, Oral Roberts has chosen to go to another. Denver joining the Summit (leaving the WAC as Missouri-Kansas City left the Summit for the WAC), was also a motivator in the decision to return to the Summit.

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