FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Twelve years after it joined the Summit League — as an emerging NCAA Div. I athletic program — Purdue Fort Wayne University is making a move to the geographically friendly Horizon League.
School officials made the change official with an announcement Tuesday at the Hilliard Gates Sports Center.
The university’s move to the Horizon League becomes effective with the 2020-2021 academic year. The university will continue as a member of the Summit League for the current 2019-2020 academic year.
While most sports will make a move, the men’s volleyball program will continue to compete in the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association.
The switch follows years of debate over the future of the Mastodons program in the Summit, which is heavy with schools in North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado and Nebraska. That posed challenges for PFW, the eastern-most university in the conference.
In contrast, Horizon League schools are clustered within driving distance of Fort Wayne — places like Cleveland, Indianapolis, Chicago and Detroit. The 2020 Horizon League basketball championship tournament will take place in March at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum at the State Fairgrounds.
“I know our student-athletes, coaches, staff, and fans are bursting with pride and excitement as we begin the transition into a new League and new levels of competition,” said Kelley Hartley Hutton, Athletic Director at Purdue Fort Wayne. “We are incredibly grateful to our donors and friends who have provided financial support to help offset the costs of transitioning to a new athletics conference.”
The Horizon League was founded in 1979 as the Midwestern City Conference, adopting its current name in 2001. What began as a baseball-focused alignment of six mid-sized universities has expanded to a more diversified conference that has seen success on the national stage in men’s and women’s basketball, softball and soccer.