The American Athletic Conference unanimously voted Friday morning to add Wichita State as a league member for the 2017-18 season.
Wichita State announced it would accept the AAC’s invitation and leave the Missouri Valley Conference, where the Shockers have been members since 1945.
— Wichita State (@WichitaState) April 7, 2017
Wichita State will join the AAC in all sports, except football, giving the AAC both a 12-team football and basketball league. The AAC has 11 all-sports members (Cincinnati, UConn, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, South Florida, SMU, Temple, Tulane, Tulsa and Central Florida) and Navy is a football-only member. Wichita State has not had a football team since 1986.
Because of Wichita State’s basketball success, the Shockers were an attractive target for the AAC. Wichita State has been to six consecutive NCAA tournaments, winning at least one game in the past five tournaments and reaching the 2013 Final Four.
“Great for our league,” Cincinnati basketball coach Mick Cronin told ESPN. “I love to see a move for basketball reasons.”
Said Central Florida coach Johnny Dawkins: “The addition of Wichita State is tremendous for this league. … What Gregg Marshall has done at Wichita State has been impressive and we are excited to have the Shockers join The American.”
Wichita State is the second high-profile school to leave the Missouri Valley, after Creighton left for the Big East four years ago.
To leave the Missouri Valley, there is no exit fee if a school provides 24 months of notice. If a school doesn’t provide 24 months of notice, it forfeits its NCAA men’s basketball tournament units revenue. Since 2007, Wichita State has generated 16 units for the Missouri Valley.
Sources said Wichita State will pay $ 2.5 million to join the AAC, but the Shockers won’t actually pay that amount as future league revenue — expected to be $ 500,000 for each of the next five years — will be withheld to pay for its entrance fee.
As far as scheduling, the AAC said it would stick with an 18-game conference basketball slate, with schools playing seven home-and-home games and four one-plays.
With the addition of Wichita State, more than one-third of the AAC’s schools were previously Missouri Valley Conference members: Cincinnati (1957-69), Houston (1951-59), Memphis (1968-73) and Tulsa (1935-96).
Because of Wichita State’s departure, Missouri Valley presidents and athletic directors reportedly will meet Sunday in St. Louis to discuss how the league will replace the Shockers.
Wichita State needed 75 percent of votes from the AAC’s board of directors — the league’s university presidents and chancellors — to earn an invitation from the American.
ESPN’s Andy Katz contributed to this report.