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IUPUI set to join Horizon League

IUPUI. The acronym can be pronounced ooey-pooey, but it stands for Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis.

Teams in the Horizon League should get used to pronouncing it. The Jaguars became the 10th team of the Horizon League on Wednesday, replacing Valparaiso, which left for the Missouri Valley Conference.

It’s also a way for the league, which is based in Indianapolis, to get back in the Indiana state capital after Butler left for the Atlantic-10 Conference a couple of years ago.

The Jaguars are the second straight team to make the jump from the Summit League. Oakland replaced Butler in 2013.

YSU also rejoins IUPUI in a league, the first time since the Penguins were in the former Mid-Continent Conference — leaving in 2001. The Mid-Con became the Summit League.

The Jaguars officially join the Horizon League on Saturday. YSU teams, which were scheduled for nine league games, now revert back to 10.

“It doesn’t create that big of an obstacle because we had some of those schedules made up,” Youngstown State University Director of Athletics Ron Strollo said.

The Jaguars have basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis and track and field as men’s sports. Meanwhile, the IUPUI women have basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field and volleyball.

“The Jaguars bring us tremendous competitive potential, particularly in men’s basketball, along with an engaged and energized city,” said Horizon League Commissioner Jon LeCrone in a news release.

The only thing missing in the addition of IUPUI is baseball.

“Baseball hasn’t been in any of the discussions I was a part of,” Strollo said. “I don’t think that’s on the docket to come back.”

The men’s cross country team is very competitive at IUPUI. YSU coach Brian Gorby said the Jaguars, YSU and Oakland have some of the strongest programs in the midwest.

“It’s going to give the Horizon League (the opportunity) to send up to three teams over the next three, four years to the national championships,” Gorby said.

The IU Natatorium has hosted USA Olympic Trials and USA Swimming National Championships. Greg Louganis, Michael Phelps and Jenny Thompson have competed there.

Meanwhile, the Michael A. Carroll Stadium has held USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Strollo said the Jaguars are beneficial to the Horizon League.

“Being an odd number creates some challenges,” he said. “Sometimes there’s strength in numbers in order to have bids to NCAA Tournaments. To put a schedule together, it’s better to be partners with a bigger number.”

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