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Valparaiso to Join Horizon League

May 17, 2006

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) _ Valparaiso is moving to the Horizon League in 2007, dropping out of the Mid-Continent Conference, where most of its teams have competed since 1982, the school said Wednesday.

The school will remain in the Pioneer Football League.

Valparaiso president Dr. Alan Harre said the decision would help student athletes by limiting their travel.

The Mid-Continent Conference has schools as far away as Oklahoma, Utah and Louisiana, while the Horizon League has nine teams in five Midwestern states.

``Shorter travel also means less fatigue and increased concentration in the classroom,″ Harre said.

Valparaiso joins six other schools that have left the Mid-Continent Conference to join the Horizon League over the years.

Butler, Cleveland State, Detroit Mercy, Illinois-Chicago, Loyola-Chicago, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Wright State and Youngstown State make up the Horizon League. Valparaiso’s addition marks the first membership change for the Horizon League since Youngstown State joined in 2001.

Valpo’s decision drops the Mid-Continent to seven teams, less than the required eight for a league to gain an automatic NCAA bid. Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne has wanted to join the Mid-Continent for several years and now might have its best chance.

Valparaiso will participate in the Horizon League in 17 intercollegiate sports.

Valparaiso’s athletics history is highlighted by seven appearances in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament from 1996-2004, including a trip to the round of 16 in 1998.

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