Shockers make move: Wichita State leaving MVC for AAC

The Shockers will join the league for all of its sports, giving the AAC a 12th basketball school since Navy is a football-only member.

Wichita State is joining the American Athletic Conference beginning next year, a league official with direct knowledge of the situation told The Commercial Appeal.

The Shockers return all of their key contributors from a team that went 31-5 and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament.

The presidents of the AAC's 12 member schools voted unanimously to admit the school in all sports but football.

The move makes sense in terms of basketball as well for the school that has made six straight NCAA tournament appearances, including two Sweet 16s and the 2013 Final Four.

Because of Wichita State's basketball success, the Shockers were an attractive target for the AAC. Wichita State accepted an invitation to join the American Athletic Conference.

The Missouri Valley Conference, however, suffers. The move will make the AAC a 12-school league in basketball.

This wasn't included in the press-release email, but it should have been: "The American is thrilled by the addition of a mid-major superstar men's basketball program and by the presence of Gregg Marshall".

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"In two years, we'll be among the best conferences in the country", the commissioner said.

UConn AD David Benedict has expressed a desire to add more strong basketball teams to the conference, such as Dayton and Virginia Commonwealth.

The AAC includes Connecticut, Cincinnati, Central Florida, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, South Florida, SMU, Temple, Tulane, Tulsa and Navy.

For the American, adding Wichita State is an attempt to improve the basketball profile. The MVC simply doesn't have the level of competition necessary to bolster a team's strength of schedule, a statistic that seemingly holds heavy weight with the tournament's selection committee.

The Shockers are have won four of its 11 MVC regular season champions titles since 2014.

During the upcoming "summer offseason", we can expect a lot more realignment discussion after Wichita State and the AAC got together. The last unknown was resolved this week, when Wichita State found out it would be admitted for the 2017-18 season.

While the statement contained no mention of Sunday's meeting with the remaining presidents and athletic directors, multiple sources have confirmed that the conference intends to meet in St. Louis to discuss membership possibilities.

Of the group of potential candidates, Belmont, now in the Ohio Valley Conference, has had the greatest recent men's basketball success.

  • Tabitha Byrd