Big 12's decision to stand pat opened American's door to Wichita State

Doyle BarkerApr 09, 2017

Wichita State, which does not play football, will be an AAC participant other sports beginning as early as next season, making a quick exit from the Missouri Valley Conference.

Wichita State University has accepted the invitation to join the American Athletic Conference, known as "The American".

Previously, Wichita State had floated the idea of reviving their football program from 1986 as a way to attract possible conference affiliations.

The vote was unanimous, according to messages on social media. The Shockers have reached six consecutive NCAA tournaments, including the Final Four in 2013. Four years ago, the Creighton Bluejays departed for the Big East and now, they are losing their flagship program to the AAC.

For example, this season, despite being ranked as one of the top 10 teams in the country by almost every available advanced metric, the Shockers earned a No. 10 seed in the tournament.

If Wichita State can stay good and take advantage of this rise in status, it will help the AAC and go down as a savvy move to address a major need for the basketball league.

The move gives the AAC 12 members in both football and basketball as Navy is a football-only member of the league. "From the viewpoint of men's basketball, the tremendous success of Coach (Gregg) Marshall's program is well-known nationally".

Aresco said having 12 members in all sports will make scheduling easier for the AAC, bit added there are no plans to divide the league into two basketball divisions.

"In addition to those cities, Cincinnati, New Orleans, Orlando, Tampa, Memphis, Philadelphia, Storrs/Hartford, and Greenville, North Carolina, are all cities that our athletes, alumni and fans will enjoy visiting, and we're looking forward to welcoming them to Wichita", Bardo said.

With Wichita State facing bigger teams like University of Connecticut, University of Houston, and Southern Methodist University, thousands of more people are expected to show up to games, meaning more money put into the Wichita economy.

If today's news is win-win for Wichita State basketball and the American, that's not the case for the Shockers' non-revenue sports.

Wichita State is moving onward and upwards in the college basketball universe.

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

The 11-team AAC needed another basketball school to even its ranks and avoid the troubles of playing an uneven schedule.

Because of Wichita State's departure, Missouri Valley presidents and athletic directors will meet Sunday in St. Louis to discuss how the league will replace the Shockers, several outlets have reported.

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