Oral Roberts University plans to leave the Summit League in July 2012 to join the Southland Conference. ORU, a member of the Summit League since 1997, will move from a geographically dispersed league to one with members contained in a three-state area.
The Summit League includes Oral Roberts, Nebraska-Omaha, Missouri-Kansas City, North Dakota State, South Dakota, South Dakota State, Western Illinois, Southern Utah, Oakland, Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne and Indiana-Purdue Indianapolis.
It stretches from Utah in the West, Michigan in the East and Oklahoma in the South. As you can well imagine, travel is extensive.
The ORU Golden Eagles have been dominant in the conference, winning 134 conference and tournament championships during their league tenure.
With its emphasis on football, the Summit League hasn't been a great fit for ORU a non-football school, whose emphasis has always been on baseball and basketball, which fits perfectly with Southland Conference programs.
Oral Roberts' admission to the Southland Conference will add another state to the conference that is currently limited to Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.
But because of the schools' proximity to one another it won't stretch the travel budget of any school to a great degree.
Current Southland schools include Stephen F. Austin, Texas State, Texas-Arlington, Lamar, Sam Houston, Texas-San Antonio, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, McNeese State, Nicholls State, Central Arkansas, Northwestern Louisiana and Southwestern Louisiana.
Oral Roberts certainly will be a terrific addition to the conference.