Missouri Valley Conference invites Valpo to join the league
Missouri Valley Conference invites Valpo to join the league
Valparaiso will join the Missouri Valley Conference for the 2017-18 school year. More
09 May, 2017, 22:22
University presidents from schools affiliated with the Missouri Valley Conference unanimously voted on Monday night to formally invite Valparaiso University to join the conference, multiple sources told CBS Sports.
Murray State will not receive an invitation to the Missouri Valley Conference, according to a statement from the athletics office.
However, that could be changing.
Missouri State president Clif Smart tweeted on Tuesday morning that the Valley expansion committee "will continue to meet for the next (nine) months to evaluate further expansion opportunites".
Illinois State athletic director Larry Lyons confirmed "this is not the end of the discussion for membership".
It's unclear whether further expansion will be included in the future.
The Missouri Valley Conference officially filled its opening Tuesday, but that opens up another potential landing spot for UNO.
"I am in no way disappointed by the news or have any regrets being involved in the process", Ward said.
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Valparaiso joins the MVC coming from the Horizon League, which the Big East also poached for Butler a few years ago.
Adding Valparaiso suggests the league valued finding a competitive basketball program more than it did during its search to replace Creighton in 2013.
Valparaiso's addition would give the MVC a 50-50 split of public schools (Illinois State, Southern Illinois, Indiana State, Northern Iowa, Missouri State) and private schools (Loyola, Bradley, Drake, Evansville, Valparaiso).
Valparaiso officials did confirm on Tuesday morning that the football team would remain in the Pioneer Football League regardless of conference affiliation for the rest of the athletics department. Valparaiso also has appeared in NCAA tournaments in women's basketball, men's and women's soccer, women's volleyball and over the past 21 years. They're reached the NCAA tournament twice in the last five years and won five of the last six Horizon League regular season titles. Valparaiso has been to the NCAA tourney nine times. The Crusaders will be in a bit of a rebuilding mode, however, as Alec Peters, arguably the best player in the history of the program, graduates this spring, a year after Bryce Drew, a former Valpo star, left the program to take over at Vanderbilt.
The Crusaders lost in the National Invitation Tournament's first round to IL as Peters sat out with a knee injury. The Crusaders have won or shared the Horizon League regular season title in five of the last six seasons.
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