Wichita State to play in American Athletic Conference next season

The American Athletic Conference decided in a unanimous decision Friday to add Wichita State to the conference for the 2017-18 season.

Wichita State will join the AAC in all sports except football, which the school disbanded in 1986. The Shockers will depart the Missouri Valley Conference, the conference it has called home since 1945. With the addition of the Shockers, the AAC will now be a 12-team conference for both football and basketball — Navy is only a member of the AAC in football.

The Shockers saw recent success in athletics through its men’s basketball program. In the past six years, Wichita State has received six consecutive bids to the NCAA March Madness tournament. In those years, it has had five seasons of winning at least one game in the tournament and fought as far as the Final Four in 2013.

“Wichita State is just a tremendous addition to our league,”  UConn men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie said. “Year in and year out, they are nationally ranked and earn a spot in the NCAA tournament. I know next season, they are already being projected as a top 10 team. In men’s basketball, the American [Athletic] Conference just went up a level.”

The AAC has confirmed that it will stick to its 18-game conference schedule for men’s basketball, with four one-plays and seven two-game series.

“We are pleased and proud to welcome Wichita State to the [AAC],” AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco said. “This is a university with a strong athletic and academic heritage which shares our conference’s commitment to excellence.”

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