Wichita State reportedly could join AAC as soon as April

By Arthur Weinstein 1 April 2017 208
Wichita State reportedly could join AAC as soon as April

Wichita State officials are reportedly engaged in talks to join the American Athletic Conference, a move that could come within the next two weeks and take effect for next season.

Sports Illustrated reports multiple sources say Wichita State and the AAC share a mutual interest. Any move would have to be approved by AAC-member university presidents, but their approval would seem to be a given, considering the millions in NCAA Tournament revenue the Shockers could bring in to be shared by AAC schools. The Shockers, who finished 31-5 this season and lost to Kentucky in the Round of 32, earned $3.2 million from this year's tournament.

Wichita State has been a member of the Missouri Valley Conference since 1945. MVC officials are reportedly prepared for Wichita State's imminent departure.

“We understand that this is in the works and that it’s a strong possibility," an official told SI.

A move to the AAC would dramatically improve Wichita State's visibility, as the Shockers would face storied — and big-market — programs such as UConn, Temple, Cincinnati, Memphis and Houston in conference play. Despite their record this season, the Shockers were only a No. 10 seed in the tournament, a lower seeding than most analysts expected. Another strong MVC team, Illinois State, was overlooked by the tournament selection committee this year.

Wichita State does not have a football program, which would make it the lone non-football member in the AAC, but the school's other athletic teams would participate in the conference.

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Arthur Weinstein