Realignment stories are always fun, even when they don’t directly relate to K-State Athletics. We’re bringing you this news because it does indirectly relate in a couple of ways, however.
This morning, the Missouri Valley Conference (of which K-State was once a member back in the day) announced that it had extended an offer of membership to Valparaiso University. If accepted, Valpo would join the Valley without any delay, officially becoming a member on July 1 and beginning competition this fall.
Missouri Valley Conference statement on membership. pic.twitter.com/MNKLOAwwsE— Missouri Valley (@MVCsports) May 9, 2017
The Valley declined further comment, although there is some other related news. Matt Norlander of CBS reports that the Valley does not currently intend to expand further, with the obvious implication that Valparaiso is just the replacement for Wichita State, who will depart for the American Athletic Conference, also on July 1.
.@CBSSports Additionally, the MVC is sticking with 10 teams and not going to 11 or 12. That was the desire of most coaches and ADs in the league.— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) May 9, 2017
However, Missouri State president Cliff Smart quote-tweeted the official Valley tweet by noting that the conference’s expansion committee would continue meeting over the next nine months to consider other opportunities.
The expansion committee will continue to meet for the next 9 months to evaluate further expansion opportunities. https://t.co/W7ENKtFflF— Clif Smart (@ClifSmart) May 9, 2017
The big red flag here is Murray State, which was also a strong favorite to receive an invitation; it’s possible that the Valley is contemplating a further expansion for the purpose of adding the Racers. It’s also known that the Valley made visits to Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks and Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and there were rumors that North Dakota State, South Dakota State, Belmont, and even UMKC were being considered.
It was always obvious that Wichita State’s departure for the American was going to create a ripple effect. Valparaiso will be leaving the Horizon League, which for a time appeared to be on its way toward being one of the best mid-major basketball leagues in the nation. The Horizon, which also once counted Marquette, Xavier, and Dayton among its membership, was hit hard in the aftermath of the fracture of the Big East as they lost key members Butler (2012 to the Big East) and Loyola (2013 to the Valley, replacing Creighton).
Should Valparaiso accept the invite, the Horizon’s next move will probably involve sniping the Summit League, but geographically their options there would appear to be limited to IUPUI or IPFW.