UPDATE AS OF FEBRUARY 15th, 2022:
Sources have confirmed with The Stride Report that the Horizon League has reversed their initial decision to bar the University of Illinois-Chicago from conference championships this winter and spring following the university's decision to join the Missouri Valley Conference at the start of the 2022-23 academic calendar.
In other words, UIC Flames' student-athletes will now be allowed to compete in the Horizon League Championships for all winter and spring sports.
An official statement has also been made by the Horizon League, confirming the information that we initially received from our sources.
Despite the granted exception, the Horizon League noted in their statement that the response from UIC leaders and administrators has been, "disappointing, disingenuous, and inconsistent with our League values."
The Horizon League claimed that UIC leaders, "engaged in an inflammatory and misleading media campaign that attacked the League, including posting contact information of the League’s university presidents and chancellors on official UIC websites."
At the time of publication, no official statement has been made by the UIC athletic department in response to their restored eligibility.
FIRST PUBLISHED ON FEBRUARY 10th, 2022:
In late January, it was announced that the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) had accepted an invitation to join the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC).
UIC is currently a member of the Horizon League.
The Flames' decision to join the MVC, which is effective July 1st, 2022, will begin at the start of the 2022-2023 academic calendar.
Following UIC's announcement, the Horizon League opted to uphold their conference bylaws, effectively not allowing any and all UIC student-athletes to compete for conference championships this winter or spring.
The Horizon League noted that the Flames' athletic department failed to offer proper notice of their departure from the conference.
In an ensuing press release, the University of Illinois-Chicago Athletic Department stated that they are "outraged" by the Horizon League's decision.
UIC Director of Athletics Michael Lipitz is quoted as saying that the Horizon League's decision to uphold their bylaws is, "shocking and entirely inconsistent with the values of the Horizon League."
In that press release, the Horizon League is said to have "prohibited" UIC from "presenting its case to the Board and denied it the opportunity to directly advocate on behalf of its student-athletes."
Earlier this month, Stony Brook University learned that they too would be unable to compete for conference championships in the America East following their decision to depart to the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) effective July 1st, 2022.
This past fall, the UIC women placed 4th at the Horizon League XC Championships while their men's team placed 3rd at the same meet. The University of Illinois-Chicago is home to the fall 2021 Horizon League cross country individual champion, Carlos Cabrera.
Cabrera was a top-30 finisher at the Midwest Regional XC Championships this past fall and recently posted a time of 14:22 for 5000 meters at Notre Dame's Meyo Invitational.
The UIC men and women will soon be venturing to the Missouri Valley Conference, a conference that features a few underrated and respectable distance programs. Member institutions feature, but are not limited to, Drake, Bradley, Belmont (a soon-to-be MVC inductee), Illinois State, Indiana State and more.