It's been a long time coming, but on Wednesday afternoon, the Atlantic 10 Conference officially announced that Butler University would be joining the conference starting in the 2013-14 season.
This is obviously a huge blow to the current Horizon League, as it loses its lone stalwart basketball contender. On the same token, it's a big get for the A-10 Conference because it furthers the Midwestern footprint of the league while adding a basketball program that has tasted the glimmer of two National Championship appearances in the past three years.
A lot has been made about how the Bulldogs will need to improve their facilities and other amenities to compete in a better conference. To that, I agree. But they've already done a superb job in showing that they can dedicate resources to the basketball program, so I don't believe this should be an issue going forward.
On the heels of the national spotlight against Duke and Connecticut, the Bulldogs are also in good shape in terms of recruiting at a higher level. Butler has shown in the past that it can get Top 100 recruits and make them fit into their system.
From a purely factual standpoint, looking at the A-10 gives you a quick glimpse of how strong the league will be. Xavier, Saint Louis, Dayton, Butler, St. Joseph's, Massachusetts are all strong or up-and-coming programs. One of those programs will finish at best sixth in the A-10 in 2013. That's pretty crazy to think about.
Flat out, this is a decision that needed to happen. With Temple bolting for the Big East in 2013, bringing in a high-level basketball program was paramount on the conference's agenda.
Stay tuned for more information, including quotes from A-10 Commissioner Bernadette McGlade and Butler's President and Athletic Director.