The Missouri Valley has offered membership to Valparaiso less than a month after Wichita State left the league to join the American Athletic Conference.
The conference made the announcement Tuesday with a statement on Twitter.
"The Missouri Valley Conference Presidents Council has unanimously voted to extend a membership invitation to Valparaiso University, effective July 1, 2017. There will be no further comment, pending the negotiation of terms."
Much like in 2013 when the Valley replaced the similarly impactful loss of Creighton, the league has found a weaker-yet-fitting replacement for a loss of one of its basketball powers. Then again, there was no replacing the Shockers, who enhanced the Missouri Valley's overall profile and profited the conference in the last five years more than any team in the league's history. The Valley is still reaping the financial benefits of WSU's 2013 Final Four finish, and 2015 Sweet 16 finish. Next season, the Shockers are a projected top-five team.
But Valparaiso, which beat out Murray State, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Nebraska-Omaha, is a nice fit in keeping the MVC as one of the best mid-major conferences in all of college basketball. The Crusaders have won 20 games 10 times since the turn of the millennium and were a constant contender and NCAA tournament qualifier in the Horizon League. The Horizon lost Butler to the Atlantic 10 Conference in 2012 before the Bulldogs eventually transitioned to the Big East.
There's still potential for an extension from 10 teams to 12 in the MVC in the near future, but Valpo's addition is the only imminent move.
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