The American Athletic Conference has scheduled a vote of its Board of Directors on adding Wichita State to the league. The Shockers are expected to begin playing in the AAC in the 2017–18 season.
The American Athletic Conference has scheduled a Board of Directors call later this week to vote on Wichita State’s admission to the league, according to sources. The sources said the “general expectation” is that the league will admit Wichita State and that the Shockers will play in the AAC during the 2017–18 season.
The AAC presidents have the final vote on Wichita State, and sources said there’s expected to be finality on their admission by the weekend.
This marks one of the final steps in the AAC’s courtship of Wichita State, which has dominated the Missouri Valley Conference under coach Gregg Marshall and become a mainstay in the NCAA tournament.
The last lingering detail to be resolved regarded when Wichita State would begin play in the league. That appears to be settled for 2017–18, as the Shockers return all their key players from a team that went 31–5 and finished No. 8 in Ken Pomeroy’s final rankings this season.
With a potential Final Four team returning, Wichita State’s likely move to the American will give it a tougher conference schedule, higher visibility and help it secure a higher seed from the NCAA tournament selection committee. The Shockers were a No. 10 seed in the NCAA tournament this year, a stunningly low placement considering their record and talent level.
Wichita State’s admission will make the AAC a 12-member league. The expectation is that league members will play an 18-game conference schedule in basketball.
The Missouri Valley Conference has been resigned to Wichita State’s departure for weeks, and there’s a meeting of the league’s presidents and athletic directors scheduled for Sunday in St. Louis to discuss the conference’s future after Wichita State’s departure. Among the expected topics will be potential schools to replace Wichita State.
"We feel like Wichita State's departure is imminent," a Missouri Valley source said. "And we're ready to move on."