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Valparaiso Accepts MVC’s Invitation To Join League

Source: Missouri Valley Conference
Source: Missouri Valley Conference

It’s official. Valparaiso will become a member of the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) on July 1, 2017.

In a news release posted on the university’s website, Valparaiso president Dr. Mark A. Heckler confirmed that the Indiana-based institution accepted an invitation to join the MVC Thursday morning (May 25). The Crusaders will begin competing for league championships in the 2017–2018 academic year.

“This is an exciting time for Valparaiso University and our athletics programs,” Heckler said in the release. “We are fortunate to join the historic, tradition-rich Missouri Valley Conference. Membership in the Valley will increase the national profile of our institution and our athletics program, and we will undoubtedly contribute to the strength and character of the conference.”

Missouri Valley Conference
Source: Missouri Valley Conference

Valpo brings a strong tradition across its athletic programs to the Missouri Valley Conference, most notably its success in men’s basketball. The Crusaders have captured 14 league regular season titles over the last 23 years and have made nine trips to the NCAA Tournament.

Over the last three seasons, Valpo has won 82 games — a total that ranks among the top-15 nationally. The program has enjoyed the two winningest seasons in program history in the last three years and has appeared in the postseason all three years, including a run to the NIT championship game at Madison Square Garden in 2015–2016.

Valpo’s recent athletic success goes well beyond the basketball court, however. Since the start of the 2011–2012 season, the Crusaders have made 11 NCAA Tournament appearances — three in softball; two each in baseball, men’s basketball, and men’s tennis; and one apiece in women’s soccer and men’s golf — and have claimed 11 regular season league championships — five in men’s basketball; two in men’s tennis; and one each in baseball, softball, men’s soccer, and women’s soccer.

The Crusaders are replacing Wichita State, which announced its departure from the MVC last month. The Shockers accepted an invitation to join The American Athletic Conference (AAC), effective July 1.

The addition of Valparaiso returns The Valley’s membership to 10 teams. The Crusaders are the 34th different program to compete in the 110-year-old league.

“We are truly excited to welcome Valparaiso University to our Missouri Valley Conference family,” MVC Commissioner Doug Elgin said in a separate news release posted on the league’s website. “Valpo brings a combination of strong athletics tradition and academic excellence, and will be a great fit competing in our league.”

Valparaiso has competed in the Horizon League since 2007, having previously been a member of the AMCU (1982-90) and Mid-Continent Conference (1990-2007). Current MVC members Missouri State and UNI had also previously competed in the AMCU with Valparaiso, while Loyola had been a concurrent member with Valpo in the Horizon League from 2007-13. Loyola accepted an invitation to join The Valley in 2013.

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