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Speculation grows about Butler leaving Atlantic 10

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Butler University President James Danko is not changing his mind.

Two days after saying he wouldn‘t completely rule out the possibility of joining a new athletic conference, Danko issued a statement that likely will keep the realignment talk buzzing.

“Our administrators, our coaches, our trustees and our team will continue to do what is right for Butler and its students,” he said. “Decisions will be made, first and foremost, with the university‘s strong values and the Butler Way at heart.”

In other words, the school is keeping its options open.

When word leaked last week that seven Catholic schools in the Big East were looking to leave the conference and form their own league, Butler was one of the first names to pop up as a possible new member. Since then, the parties involved have done nothing to dissuade such talk.

Butler joined the Atlantic 10 Conference this year after more than 20 years in the Horizon League and its predecessors, the Midwestern Collegiate Conference and the Midwestern City Conference.

An Atlantic 10 spokesman said the league wouldn‘t immediately respond to reports about Butler's possible departure. And Butler athletic director Barry Collier has declined to comment on any potential move. During the second half of Butler‘s 88-86 upset of Indiana on Saturday, Danko was asked whether he would completely rule out the speculation.

“I‘d rather not talk about it until something happens,” he said.

On Saturday, Villanova, Georgetown, St. John‘s, DePaul, Marquette, Providence and Seton Hall decided to officially separate from the Big East and construct a basketball-centric league.

Whether the Bulldogs will be involved remains unclear.

Some reports indicated Xavier and Butler, both of the Atlantic 10, are two schools the “Catholic 7” would like to include in a 10- or 12-team league, even though Butler isn‘t a Catholic institution. Other reports have mentioned Dayton, Creighton or Gonzaga as possible members.

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