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Report: MVC courts MSU, Valpo to replace Shockers

By EDWARD MARLOWE emarlowe@paducahsun.com

Wichita State's departure from the Missouri Valley Conference -- coupled with Friday's announced acceptance of the Shockers into the American Athletic Conference -- has already sent a jolt through regional athletic directors and programs alike.

But with MVC officials set to hold an emergency meeting on Sunday in St. Louis to discuss the league's future and vision, two programs have already been mentioned as considerations for the departing Shockers.

The University of Valparaiso and Murray State University.

First reported by CBS Sports college basketball insider Jon Rothstein, the Crusaders and Racers are likely to be courted by the MVC's brass in hopes of creating an 11-team league with a home-and-away schedule of 20 conference games.

This would revolve around the inclusion of two new teams (presumably MSU and Valpo) and would obviously also involve the rest of the existing conference: Bradley University, Drake University, the University of Evansville, Indiana State University, Illinois State University, Loyola University-Chicago, Missouri State University, the University of Northern Iowa and Southern Illinois University.

It could also prelude the addition of a third team willing to jump to the MVC -- thus creating a 12-team league in the wake of Wichita's departure.

It is worth noting that the MVC's presidents and athletic directors have not met prior to this Sunday, nor have they discussed what seems to be a wide array of programs in the mix. Several rumors have swirled around the possibility of Belmont University, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, North Dakota State University, South Dakota State University and the University of Omaha also being on the radar of MVC officials as they being their discussions.

Upon Wichita State's acceptance into the American, MVC Commissioner Doug Eglin released a full and lengthy statement regarding the health of their league and their mission at hand:

"The Missouri Valley Conference has undergone many changes in membership throughout our 110-year history, and the news today of Wichita State University's departure brings us to another stage in the evolution of our league. The Valley has always been resilient and progressive in the face of these changes, and we have never been defined by a single institution.

"We now have an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to competitive excellence and to a continuing investment in athletics. We have strong campus leadership -- our Presidents Council has always been responsive and decisive when called upon to chart the future course of our conference. We have a membership process in place and we will be very deliberate in taking appropriate steps to provide the best opportunities to grow and strengthen our league. We will not waver in our determination to put our student-athletes and teams in the best possible position to compete on the national stage.

"The MVC and our campus personnel will not be discussing our plans or our intentions until we have made important decisions and have taken steps to address our current membership issues."

Valparaiso currently resides in the Horizon League, while the Racers are one the founding members of the Ohio Valley Conference back in 1948.

Contacts with both Murray State and Ohio Valley Conference officials were not immediately returned concerning this story.

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