WICHITA – The American Athletic Conference voted unanimously on Friday to add Wichita State to the league starting with the 2017-18 season.
Wichita State announced it accepted the AAC’s invitation and will leave the Missouri Valley Conference. The Shockers have been members of the MVC since 1945.
Wichita State will join the AAC in all its sports — the school does not have a football program — giving the AAC both a 12-team football and basketball league. The AAC has 11 all-sports members (Cincinnati, UConn, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, South Florida, SMU, Temple, Tulane, Tulsa and UCF) and Navy is a football-only member.
The Shockers were targeted for the AAC because of their basketball success. Wichita State has been to the NCAA Tournament six consecutive years, winning at least one game in the past five tournaments and reaching the 2013 Final Four.
“We are pleased and proud to welcome Wichita State to The American,” AAC commissioner Mike Aresco said in a statement. “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. 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.”
Wichita State returns most of its key players from coach Gregg Marshall’s team that went 31-5 this past season. The Shockers lost to Kentucky in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last month.
“Wichita State is just a tremendous addition to our league,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie said. “Coach Marshall’s program is all about winning championships. Year in and year out, they are nationally ranked and earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament. I know next season, they are already being projected as a top 10 team. In men’s basketball, the American Conference just went up a level.