Missouri Valley Conference invites Valparaiso to join conference

Missouri Valley Conference Invites Valparaiso to Replace Wichita State

Missouri Valley Conference Invites Valparaiso to Replace Wichita State

We started Monday knowing the nine presidents of the remaining Missouri Valley Conference schools would be meeting to discuss replacing the departing Wichita State with one or more schools.

"The Missouri Valley Conference Presidents Council has unanimously voted to extend a membership invitation to Valparaiso University, effective July 1, 2017". In a news release, the MVC declined further comment, "pending negotiation of terms". The Crusaders have won 20 games 10 times since the turn of the millennium and were a constant contender and NCAA tournament qualifier in the Horizon League.

Belmont, Murray State and Omaha were three other institutions in talks recently with the Missouri Valley Conference, but only Valparaiso got an invitation. Loyola was tabbed in 2013 after Creighton left for the Big East Conference.

Wichita State will be joining the American Athletic Conference perhaps as soon as this summer. It played in the NCAA Tournament in 2013 and 2015.

Whichever direction the Horizon League goes, it's likely to prioritize men's basketball over staying in its five-state, Midwest footprint.

Valparaiso is a private school, giving the MVC a balance of five public and five private moving forward.

In the 18th-ranked conference in the country, Valpo finished last season with an RPI ranking of 78. Missouri State University President Cliff Smart tweeted that "the (MVC) expansion committee will continue to meet for the next 9 months to evaluate further expansion opportunities". "There are so many good things happening here, I couldn't be more excited about the upcoming year and the future of this program".

Valparaiso has made a name for itself in men's basketball, although not on the scale of Wichita State. They've played eight times in the Horizon League regular season, with each team winning four times.

The MVC is the second-oldest continually active conference in college athletics (only the Big Ten has existed longer).

For not providing at least two years notice to the Horizon League, Valparaiso would be subject to a reported $500,000 exit fee and forfeiture of its share of NCAA and conference revenues from the last year, including from the NCAA tournament.

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