Proximity matters a lot for ORU in move to Southland
BY JIMMIE TRAMEL World Sports Writer
Sunday, July 15, 2012
7/15/12 at 6:09 AM
Southland Conference school profiles
Q&A about the Southland Conference
Oral Roberts University won 140 regular-season and tournament championships (and nine Commissioner's Cups) during 15 years of Summit League competition.
Why would the Golden Eagles leave a comfy situation for a new conference?
Because, unlike some people in college athletics, the folks at 81st and Lewis still believe geography matters.
San Diego State and Boise State are headed to the Big East.
West Virginia, which is much, much closer to Pittsburgh (Pa.) than Pittsburg (Kan.), is joining the Big 12.
ORU wants to play neighbors instead of flying over neighbors to play conference games in different time zones.
Summit League schools were spread across eight states and three time zones. Southland Conference schools are in four states and one time zone.
"Our No. 1 consideration in this and all decisions is the well-being of our student-athletes," ORU president Mark Rutland said when ORU officially became a Southland member on July 1.
"We look forward to being a competitive member of such an excellent conference right here in our own neighborhood. This change in geography that the Southland Conference provides us will greatly benefit our athletes."
Athletic director Mike Carter said the geographic footprint of the Southland will help ORU in recruiting "both for athletics and the university."
ORU is the first Oklahoma-based Southland member and is the first private institution to be in the league in nearly 40 years.
Southland commissioner Tom Burnett said he expects ORU and the league to have a mutually beneficial relationship for years to come.
ORU will make its Southland debut Sept. 13, when the Golden Eagle volleyball team faces Sam Houston State in Huntsville, Texas.
ORU conference history
1979-87: Midwestern City Conference (later renamed Midwestern Collegiate Conference).
1987-97: NAIA and NCAA independent.
1997-2012: Mid-Continent Conference (later renamed Summit League).
July 1, 2012: Officially joined Southland Conference.
Original Print Headline: Proximity matters a lot for ORU
Jimmie Tramel 918-581-8389