Northern Kentucky to join Horizon League


Northern Kentucky University will become the 10th full member of the Horizon League on July 1, it was announced on Monday.

The league’s board of directors approved the application and NKU will begin play starting this season.

“The Horizon League is pleased to welcome Northern Kentucky University to our conference,” said Antoine Garibaldi, board of directorscChair and president of the University of Detroit Mercy. “The Horizon League presidents and Commissioner LeCrone look forward to working with NKU President Mearns to continue the implementation of the League’s major goals and strategic plan.”

NKU will compete in 17 of 19 Horizon League sports. The only exceptions will be men’s and women’s swimming and diving.

“We made the move to Division I in order to align with similar aspirational institutions. The Horizon League member schools are located in areas that are ideal for student recruitment,” Northern Kentucky University President Geoffrey Mearns said. “In fact, seven of the nine schools are located within 300 miles of NKU’s main campus. The future of Norse athletics is bright, and the Horizon League is an excellent fit,” he said.

Mearns said the move will significantly reduce travel costs and will allow the university to engage with more alumni, with more than 14,000 NKU graduates living in the states covered by the league’s

In the fall semester more than 800 Horizon League student-athletes posted grade-point averages of 3.2 or better and 58 teams were honored for perfect academic progress ratings (APR) scores by the NCAA.

In addition, 22 League squads were recognized by the NCAA for being in the top 10 academically in their respective sports. The Horizon League boasts a 19-16 record in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament over the last 13 years.

“Northern Kentucky University’s mission, vision and values align with the Horizon League,” said Commissioner Jonathan B. LeCrone. “The Horizon League is adding a well-respected, growing athletics program and an aspirational university.”