Wichita State leaving MVC for AAC on July 1

FILE - In this March 10, 2013, file photo, Creighton's Austin Chatman, left, brings the ball past half court as Wichita State's Demetric Williams defends in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the championship of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament, in St. Louis. The American Athletic Conference has voted to extend an invitation to Wichita State to join the league. Conference spokesman Bill Potter says the presidents of the conference’s 12 member schools voted unanimously Friday, April 7, 2017, to admit the school in all sports but football. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam, File)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The American Athletic Conference board of directors has voted unanimously to accept Wichita State for next season.

The Wichita State Shockers would leave the Missouri Valley Conference and join the new conference for the 2017-2018 academic year. It will officially join the league on July 1, 2017.

“This is an event of great importance in defining the future of Wichita State,” President John Bardo said. “Two years ago we set out on a fact-finding process to determine the best way athletics could help position the university for enrollment growth and enhance WSU’s reputation as an academic and research institution.”

The addition of WSU would give the AAC 12 League members for basketball.

The AAC currently has 12 members for football: UCF, Cincinnati, UConn, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, Navy, SMU, South Florida, Temple, Tulane and Tulsa. Navy is a football-only school, so the Shockers would give the conference 12 members in both football and basketball.

“This is a university with a strong athletic and academic heritage which shares our conference’s commitment to excellence, and we look forward to having them as a member,” conference commissioner Mike Aresco said. “The university has an exceptionally strong tradition of success in men’s basketball and baseball. The addition of Wichita State in basketball and Olympic sports extends our conference’s national footprint, enhances our national profile and strengthens our position as a leader in intercollegiate athletics.”

The Shockers have been part of the Missouri Valley Conference since 1945.

WSU Athletic Director Darron Boatright said the student athletes, coaches and fans with whom he has spoken are tremendously excited about the coming move.

“This gives us an opportunity to regularly test ourselves against traditionally strong competition – and to do so on a grander stage,” Boatright said.

Bardo and Boatright both expressed appreciation to the Missouri Valley Conference and Commissioner Doug Elgin.

“Doug and my athletic director colleagues have been gracious and understanding about our departure,” Boatright said. “We wish the Missouri Valley all the best.”

KSN continues to follow this story online and throughout the day on KSN News.

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