UIC Reinstated by Horizon League in Time for Swimming Championships

UIC-swimming-horlzon-league
Photo Courtesy: UIC Swimming and Diving

The Horizon League has reversed its decision and will allow the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) athletic teams to compete in winter championships after all.

The league had originally banned UIC for not having their intention to leave the conference completed in writing by the proper date. The school is slated to move to the Missouri Valley Conference next year.

The announcement originally came just a week before the Horizon League Swimming Championships, which take place this week.

The UIC swimming and diving team petitioned the league to reverse the decision.

The Horizon League said it ultimately decided to not punish the student athletes for what they deemed the fault of the school administration.

“I credit our League’s Board of Directors for prioritizing UIC’s student-athletes despite UIC leaders’ continued actions regarding their move to another conference,” Horizon League commissioner Julie Roe Lach said in a statement. “The response from UIC leaders has been disappointing, disingenuous, and inconsistent with our League values. At the end of the day, our League’s Board of Directors realized that UIC leaders were not going to take any action to restore eligibility for their student-athletes – including by making a simple request to the Missouri Valley Conference to enter in 2023. So our Board chose to exercise their authority to grant the student-athletes an exception to the agreed-upon bylaw.”

The Horizon League originally released this statement on the ruling, citing the school’s late written notice to leave the conference:

When UIC announced its intent to leave the Horizon League at the end of the 2021-22 season, UIC chose not to comply with the League’s Bylaw requiring that written notice of such intention must be received on or before July 1 one year before the withdrawal date. In this instance, UIC needed to provide notice before July 1, 2022 and remain a member until July 1, 2023 to be in compliance with League Bylaws and preserve 2022 championship opportunities for UIC teams.

The Board is comprised of presidents and chancellors from institutions that have committed to uphold League Bylaws. Those Bylaws provide the same choice to any member institution that wishes to terminate its membership. It is unfortunate for UIC’s teams that UIC elected a path that precludes their participation in championship play and the opportunity to represent the Horizon League in NCAA competition. But this was an informed choice under a longstanding rule.