Horizon League

college sports league in the United States

The Horizon League is a NCAA conference that plays in the NCAA Division I. The conference is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana and features universities and colleges from the Great Lakes Region. While it plays many sports, it has never played football.



The Horizon League was founded in 1979 as the Midwestern City Conference (MCC) with six members. None of these schools are in the league now. The school that has been in the league the longest is Detroit Mercy, which joined in 1980 (when it was known as simply "Detroit").

The conference changed its name in 1985 to Midwestern Collegiate Conference. In 1993, the largest conference expansion in NCAA history that did not involve a merger was announced. Six schools left the Mid-Continent Conference, now known as The Summit League, to join the Midwestern Collegiate Conference for the 1994–95 school year. In June 2001, the conference changed its name to the current Horizon League to avoid confusion with the "other" MCC (which did not become The Summit League until 2007).

Today, eight of the Horizon League's 11 full members (those playing most, if not all, of their sports in the league) are former members of The Summit League. The exceptions are Detroit Mercy, Northern Kentucky,[1] and Robert Morris.[2]

The most recent changes to the conference membership happened in the 2020s. First, in 2020, Purdue Fort Wayne[3] and Robert Morris joined.[2] In 2022, UIC left to join the Missouri Valley Conference.[4]



The Horizon League now has 11 full members.

School Location Founded Type Nickname Joined
Cleveland State University Cleveland, Ohio 1964 Public Vikings 1994
University of Detroit Mercy Detroit. Michigan 1877 Private Titans 1980
University of Wisconsin–Green Bay (Green Bay) Green Bay, Wisconsin 1965 Public Phoenix 1994
Indiana University Indianapolis (IU Indy)[a] Indianapolis, Indiana 1969 Public Jaguars 2017
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (Milwaukee) Milwaukee, Wisconsin 1956 Public Panthers 1994
Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, Kentucky 1968 Public Norse 2015
Oakland University Rochester, Michigan[b] 1957 Public Golden Grizzlies 2013
Purdue University Fort Wayne Fort Wayne, Indiana 1964[c] Public Mastodons 2020
Robert Morris University Moon Township, Pennsylvania 1921 Private Colonials 2020
Wright State University Dayton, Ohio[d] 1964 Public Raiders 1994
Youngstown State University Youngstown, Ohio 1908 Public Penguins 2001
  1. IU Indy joined the Horizon League as IUPUI, representing the former Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. At the end of the 2023–24 school year, the Indiana University and Purdue University systems shut down IUPUI. That school was replaced by new IU and Purdue campuses. The athletic program transferred to the new IU campus. Shortly before the campus split became official, the athletic website adopted a branding as IU Indy.[5]
  2. The Oakland campus has a mailing address of Rochester, but is actually located in the neighboring cities of Auburn Hills and Rochester Hills.
  3. Purdue Fort Wayne did not exist until 2018, but inherited its athletic program from Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), founded in 1964. In 2018, the Indiana University and Purdue University systems shut down their joint Fort Wayne campus. Each system then opened a new Fort Wayne campus of its own.[6]
  4. The Wright State campus has a mailing address of Dayton, but is actually located in the neighboring suburb of Fairborn.

Former full members


A total of 14 schools have been full members, but are no longer in the league.

Nicknames are those used when the schools were conference members.

School Location Founded Joined Left Type Nickname Current Conference
Butler University Indianapolis, Indiana 1855 1979 2012 Private Bulldogs Big East
University of Dayton Dayton, Ohio 1850 1987 1993 Private Flyers Atlantic 10
Duquesne University Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1878 1992 1993 Private Dukes Atlantic 10
University of Evansville Evansville, Indiana 1854 1979 1994 Private Purple Aces Missouri Valley
La Salle University Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1863 1992 1995 Private Explorers Atlantic 10
Loyola University Chicago Chicago, Illinois 1870 1979 2013 Private Ramblers Atlantic 10
Marquette University Milwaukee, Wisconsin 1881 1988[a] 1991 Private Warriors[b] Big East
Northern Illinois University DeKalb, Illinois 1895 1994 1997 Public Huskies MAC
University of Notre Dame[c] South Bend, Indiana 1842 1982
Private Fighting Irish ACC
Oklahoma City University Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 1904 1979 1985 Private Chiefs[e] Sooner (NAIA)
Oral Roberts University Tulsa, Oklahoma 1963 1979 1987 Private Titans[f] The Summit
Saint Louis University St. Louis, Missouri 1818 1981[g] 1991 Private Billikens Atlantic 10
University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) Chicago, Illinois 1859 1994 2022 Public Flames Missouri Valley
Valparaiso University Valparaiso, Indiana 1859 2007 2017 Private Crusaders[h] Missouri Valley
Xavier University Cincinnati, Ohio 1831 1979 1995 Private Musketeers Big East
  1. The Marquette men's basketball team joined in 1989, a year after the school joined in other sports.
  2. Marquette changed its nickname to "Golden Eagles" in 1994.
  3. Notre Dame was never a conference member in men's basketball.
  4. When Notre Dame rejoined the conference in 1987, it did so only for men's sports. Women's sports joined the next year.
  5. Oklahoma City changed its nickname to "Stars" in 1999.
  6. Oral Roberts changed its nickname to "Golden Eagles" in 1993.
  7. The Saint Louis men's basketball team joined in 1982, a year after the school joined in other sports.
  8. Valparaiso changed its nickname to Beacons in 2021.

Associate members


NCAA conferences often have one or more "associate" members that play only a limited number of sports in the conference, usually one. For most of its history, the Horizon League has not had associate members. The first such member was Belmont, which was a men's soccer member from 2014 to 2018. More recently, the Horizon greatly expanded its men's tennis league. The Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) merged its men's tennis league into the Horizon in 2022.[7] At the same time, Belmont returned to the conference for men's tennis,[8] and Chicago State moved men's and women's tennis into the Horizon.[7]

Two of the associate members left in July 2024. Chicago State joined the Northeast Conference, which sponsors tennis for both sexes, while Lindenwood shut down its men's tennis team.


School Location Founded Type Nickname Horizon League
Joined Main conference
Belmont University Nashville, Tennessee 1890 Private Bruins Men's tennis 2022 MVC
Eastern Illinois University Charleston, Illinois 1895 Public Panthers Men's tennis 2022 OVC
University of Southern Indiana Evansville, Indiana[a] 1965 Public Screaming Eagles Men's tennis 2022 OVC
Tennessee State University Nashville, Tennessee 1912 Public Tigers Men's tennis 2022 OVC
Tennessee Technological University
(Tennessee Tech)
Cookeville, Tennessee 1915 Public Golden Eagles Men's tennis 2022 OVC
  1. Postal address; the campus lies in unincorporated Vanderburgh County.



As noted above, current men's tennis member Belmont once housed its men's soccer team in the Horizon League.

School Location Founded Type Nickname Horizon League
Joined Left Main conference Conference in former
Horizon sport
Belmont University Nashville, Tennessee 1890 Private Bruins Men's soccer 2014 2018 MVC
Chicago State University Chicago, Illinois 1890 Public Cougars Men's and women's tennis 2022 2024 NEC
Lindenwood University St. Charles, Missouri 1827 Public Lions Men's tennis 2022 2024 OVC None


  • "Horizon League". horizonleague.org. Retrieved 2014-07-26.
  1. "Northern Kentucky University to Join Horizon League in July" (Press release). Horizon League. May 11, 2015. Archived from the original on May 14, 2015. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Robert Morris to Join Horizon League" (Press release). Horizon League. June 15, 2020. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  3. "Purdue University Fort Wayne to Join Horizon League" (Press release). Horizon League. August 5, 2019. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
  4. "UIC to Join the Missouri Valley Conference" (Press release). Missouri Valley Conference. January 26, 2022. Retrieved January 26, 2022.
  5. Tryon, Matthew (August 12, 2022). "What's next for IUPUI athletics? Staying in the Horizon League and 'tough decisions'". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved August 14, 2022.
  6. "Goodbye IPFW, hello Purdue Fort Wayne". Journal & Courier. Fort Wayne, IN. April 21, 2017. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Horizon League Announces Innovative Partnership with Ohio Valley Conference and Men's Tennis Programs, Adds Chicago State as an Affiliate Member for Men's and Women's Tennis" (Press release). Horizon League. July 6, 2022. Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  8. "Men's Tennis Accepts Affiliate Membership in Horizon League" (Press release). Belmont Bruins. July 6, 2022. Retrieved July 9, 2022.