The Missouri Valley Conference announced on May 9 it has extended an invitation to Valparaiso University to replace Wichita State University. The Crusaders’ move will be official July 1 if they accept the invitation.
Valparaiso would replace Wichita State as the 10th team in the conference. Wichita State left the MVC on April 7 for the American Athletic Conference.
Valparaiso will come from the Horizon League, the conference Loyola was in prior to joining the MVC in 2013. After rumors from Missouri Valley Conference insiders swirled that the MVC would add three teams and become a 12-team league, Valparaiso will be the only new school, according to an official statement from
Mike Kern, a MVC spokesperson, wrote in an email that the conference has no further comment on the invitation other than that the offer was extended.
Valparaiso and Loyola are also unavailable for comment until the terms are official.
Located 51 miles southeast of Chicago, Valparaiso carries 19 varsity sports, but its football team and women’s bowling team are not expected be joining the MVC. The football team is expected to stay in the Pioneer Football League with fellow MVC member, Drake University. The bowling team is not affiliated with a conference.
The loss of Wichita State impacts all of the MVC sports — especially men’s basketball. The Shockers won the 2017 MVC tournament to reach its sixth straight NCAA tournament.
Though Valparaiso doesn’t have the basketball pedigree that Wichita State does, it will bring a solid program that finished second in the Horizon League standings last season after finishing 24-9. The Crusaders lost to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the Horizon League tournament.
The team also earned a berth to the National Invitational Tournament, the second most prestigious postseason tournament in the country, and lost to the University
of Illinois in the first round.