Butler University is interested in joining the Atlantic 10 Conference for all sports except football, according to a report Monday afternoon from ESPN.com
The Indianapolis private college could be a candidate to replace Temple University, which is slated to join the Big East in the fall of 2013.
Jim McGrath, spokesman for Butler’s sports department, said the university has not entered into formal talks with anyone about switching conferences. “But, like any college, we’re aware of the changing landscape of college conferences,” he said.
If it makes a move to the Atlantic 10, Butler would not be the only Midwest university in the conference. The University of Dayton and Xavier University of Ohio and Saint Louis University of of Missouri also are members.
Butler is a co-founding member of the Horizon League and has been among its most dominant men's basketball programs, advancing to the NCAA championship game in 2010 and 2011.
Butler and Loyola University have been members of the league since 1979, when it formed as the Midwestern City Conference. It later became the Midwestern Collegiate Conference before taking the Horizon name in 2001.
Butler lost to Valparaiso University in this year’s semifinals of the Horizon men's basketball tournament. The Bulldogs (20-14) will host the University of Delaware on Wednesday in the opening round of the College Basketball Invitational.
Only on Horizon League member will play in the NCAA men's basketball tournament this year, the University of Detroit, which won the conference tournament. Meanwhile, the Atlantic 10 place four schools in the NCAA tourney.
Butler’s football program plays in the Pioneer Football League, an NCAA conference composed of 10 schools that do not award football scholarships.