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ORU returns to The Summit League

Oral Roberts University’s athletic programs will be returning to The Summit League, effective July 1, 2014.

The move, announced Thursday afternoon, will end ORU’s time in the Southland Conference after just two seasons.

On July 1, 2013, Abilene Christian University, Houston Baptist University, the University of Incarnate Word and the University of New Orleans were all added to the conference.

Mike Carter, ORU’s Director of Athletics, said the Southland Conference’s addition of those four new teams to the conference played a factor in the decision.

“When the Southland Conference expanded to 14 teams, some of our primary objectives in joining the Southland, such as improving travel costs and developing rivalries with selected schools, are no longer possible to achieve,” Carter said in the press release announcement. “With these changes in circumstances, we believe that returning to The Summit League is in the best interest of our programs and student-athletes.”

Over the past two seasons, ORU’s men’s soccer team has participated in The Summit League, due to the fact that the Southland Conference does not have men’s soccer.

Starting in summer of 2014, all 16 athletic teams at ORU will be competing in The Summit League.

“We are excited to have Oral Roberts University join The Summit League for the 2014-15 season,” said Tom Douple, Commissioner of The Summit League. “ORU brings very strong and well-rounded athletics and academics programs to our league.”

ORU spent 15 seasons in The Summit League from 1997 to 2012 before joining the Southland Conference.

ORU was a dominant force in The Summit League during their time there. Both the baseball and women’s golf programs won the league championship in each of the 15 seasons.

The Golden Eagles men’s basketball team won three straight Summit League championships from 2006 to 2008. Those teams included big names such as Moses Ehambe, Caleb Green, Ken Tutt and Larry Owens.

ORU was awarded the Commissioner Cup nine times while in The Summit League, an award given to the League’s top athletic program overall.

The Golden Eagles will be the ninth team in The Summit League and will be able to renew old rivalries, such as the one with South Dakota State University.

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